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Mastercard faces shareholder vote that could force it to ban payments to far right groups

Nick Robertson
Senior Producer

A major showdown is shaping up for Mastercard’s (MA) annual shareholder meeting this summer, thanks to a liberal activist group pressuring the financial services giant into cutting off payments services to far-right groups.

“What Mastercard is doing, without them realizing it, is they’re legitimizing these right-wing extremist and white supremacists by having that there. They’re a reputable brand, ” SumOfUs Communications Director Jamila Brown told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

SumOfUs hopes to achieve the same success as the pressure campaign that lead PayPal to ban payments to far-right extremists starting back in 2017.

Mastercard’s annual shareholder meeting on June 25 will become the next battleground in that fight. SumOfUs has won the ability to hold a shareholder vote that, if approved, would establish a “human rights committee” within Mastercard. The committee would be tasked with monitoring and stopping payments to far-right leaders and organizations around the world.

Mastercard, for its part, doesn’t believe that step is necessary to properly address the issue.

According to information given by Mastercard to shareholders reviewed by BuzzFeed News, “The Board does not believe that establishing a separate human rights committee is necessary to properly exercise its oversight of this important area.”

When reached for comment, Mastercard told Yahoo Finance that “we believe The Board’s recommendation to shareholders speaks for itself.”

Asked about the reception SumOfUs expects at the stockholders meeting, Brown is under no illusions.

“We’re prepared for a contentious conversation,” Brown said. “We’re also prepared to keep the pressure on. We will not relent because we know it’s the right thing to do.”

Watch the video above for more.

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