The non-profit watchdog group Consumers’ Research is the source of State Farm’s public relations nightmare after the group received a string of corporate emails dating back to mid-January. In that first email, a Florida-based “corporate responsibility analyst” announced State Farm is seeking six insurance agents in the state to receive a three-book bundle then donate them to the “community.”
The three books are A Kids Book About Being Transgender, A Kids Book About Being Non-Binary, and A Kids Book About Being Inclusive, according to The Washington Examiner.
“This is a fantastic way to give back,” the State Farm executive, Jose Soto, wrote, “and an easy project that will help support the LGBTQ+ community and to make the world around us better.”
Although the January email was directed to agents in Florida, Soto wrote that approximately 550 agents and employees nationwide would have the “opportunity” to donate the books to a teacher, community center, or to their local library.
Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, tells AFN the whistleblower came forward because the employer who claims to be “like a good neighbor” was asking its employees to embrace the controversial books. He calls that a “creepy” and “bizarre” corporate decision.
"We think every State Farm customer, and in this case every parent in the nation, needs to be aware of what State Farm has been doing,” Hild says. “To make sure their kids were not approached through State Farm's actions on these issues that are not appropriate for children.”
The whistleblowing emails make it clear the insurance company had chosen a side in the culture war, in particular the transgender craze, by partnering with the nonprofit “GenderCool Project.” The group sells the three books (pictured at top) on its website which celebrates mentally confused transgender children.
According to the Examiner article, State Farm was knowingly pushing its agents in Florida to purchase and distribute those books in a state that has been embroiled in controversy over the issue. The new Parents Rights in Education bill will ban those books in public school libraries when it takes effect July 1, the story pointed out.
GenderCool, an Illinois-based nonprofit, is overseen by parents John and Jennifer Grosshandler, who have a teen son named “Chazzie” who identifies as a girl.
This week, nearly six months after agents were asked to participate, State Farm announced it was ending the book giveaway with GenderCool only after Hild and Consumers’ Research published the whistleblower's emails. A lengthy and confusing statement from State Farm said the company will no longer support a program that promotes the books in school but it supports organizations that “provide resources for parents to have these conversations.”
Elsewhere in the statement, State Farm said it will “continue to explore how we can support organizations that provide tools and resources that align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
According to Hild, a Facebook post from April made it clear State Farm was purchasing the books and distributing them to schools just weeks ago.
“So these books are still on the shelves in schools today,” he says.
The website for GenderCool boasts that it is supported by household brands General Mills, Capital One, Dell and Nike, and by insurance companies Prudential and AllState. It appears the logo for State Farm, which was visible as recently as today, has been removed.