(Adds Exxon CEO's comment) April 7 (Reuters) - A slew of major U.S. companies have come out with strong statements against a controversial voting law in Georgia and similar bills in other U.S. states, which activist groups say unfairly target Black and other racial minority voters, after facing intense criticism for their muted response. Below are the statements from various companies and their executives on the Georgia voting law and similar bills being considered in other states. The statements from the companies have been rebuked by some, mainly Republican, lawmakers: Company Statement Coca-Cola Co : CEO James Quincey called the law "unacceptable" and "a step backwards." He told CNBC the law is "wrong and it needs to be remedied." (bit.ly/31AmxK7) Delta Air Lines Inc : CEO Ed Bastian blasted the law: "The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections." He said the law was "unacceptable", and did not match Delta's values. (bit.ly/2PsD3cD) It was a course reversal for Delta, which had earlier praised the law even as it acknowledged having concerns. (bit.ly/3sHTyQt) Citigroup Inc "As an American, I am appalled by the recent voter suppression laws passed in the state of Georgia," Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason said. "I see it as a disgrace that our country's efforts to keep Black Americans from engaging fully in our Constitutional right to vote continue to this day." (bit.ly/3rBWT2d) American Airlines Group Inc The airline said it was "strongly opposed" to a voting restrictions bill that was passed by the Texas state Senate and similar ones in other U.S. states. (bit.ly/3mwtJRf) Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell said on Twitter he opposed the Texas bill and that "governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard". (bit.ly/320RyqV) Patagonia Works CEO Ryan Gellert said, "Our democracy is under attack by a new wave of Jim Crow bills that seek to restrict the right to vote. It is urgent that businesses across the country take a stand — and use their brands as a force for good in support of our democracy." (bit.ly/3sQqjuV) Apple Inc "Apple believes that, thanks in part to the power of technology, it ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote. We support efforts to ensure that our democracy’s future is more hopeful and inclusive than its past," CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. Facebook Inc "We support making voting as accessible and broad-based as possible and oppose efforts to make it harder for people to vote," Roy Austin, Facebook's deputy general counsel for civil rights said. Microsoft Corp Company President Brad Smith said provisions of the law signed last week "unfairly restrict the rights of people to vote legally, securely, and safely." (bit.ly/2PLJlUB) Alphabet Inc "We're concerned about efforts to restrict voting at a local level and we strongly support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act," Google's senior vice-president of global affairs Kent Walker said. (bit.ly/3whFU8S) ViacomCBS Inc "We unequivocally in the importance of all Americans having an equal right to vote and oppose the recent Georgia voting rights law or any effort that impedes the ability to exercise this vital constitutional right," the company said. (bit.ly/3sKdgLd) Merck & Co Inc The drugmaker tweeted a statement from CEO Kenneth Frazier taking a stand on the Georgia law, saying "Democracy rests on ensuring that every eligible voter has an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot, free from restrictions that have a discriminatory impact." (bit.ly/2QY3jfm) American Express Co CEO Steve Squeri said the company stands "against any efforts to suppress voting which is a fundamental right that belongs to all Americans," and was in support of former CEO's Kenneth Chenault's call for corporations to take a harder stance against voting restrictions. (bit.ly/2PLfewz) Bank of America Corp "Our company's recent, increased commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity is informed by our belief that we must seek every avenue to overcome the systemic obstacles to our democratic principles that have developed over many years. This includes obstacles to the right to vote," CEO Brian Moynihan said. (bit.ly/2QPKnze) Wells Fargo & Co "Wells Fargo supports the right of every American to exercise their voice by voting... we oppose legislation that attempts to limit this right or is discriminatory in nature," the bank said, adding that it supports making Federal Election Day a national holiday. (bit.ly/2PItN3P) Cisco Systems Inc CEO Chuck Robbins tweeted "Governments should be working to make it easier to vote, not harder. Ensuring equal #VotingRights isn't a political issue, it's an issue of right and wrong." (bit.ly/3ugvbth) Best Buy Co Inc "To the extent that proposed pieces of legislation are designed to make it more difficult for eligible Americans to cast a ballot, we offer our strong opposition and urge legislators to vote no," the company said. (bit.ly/3cT3dye) Shake Shack Inc "We stand against any legislation that may impede the opportunity to vote," the company said. (bit.ly/39JjIe7) BlackRock Inc CEO Larry Fink said "BlackRock is concerned about efforts that could limit access to the ballot for anyone. Voting should be easy and accessible for ALL eligible voters. (bit.ly/2Oi2Fsc) Hubspot Inc "The Georgia legislation undermining voters' rights is in stark contrast to the democracy our country is built on. And it’s unacceptable," said Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot co-founder and chief technology officer. (bit.ly/3cGqIKE) PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. "We oppose any changes in election laws that result arm in suppressing lawful votes, especially given their historical use to suppress votes of people of color," PwC US Senior Partner Tim Ryan said. (bit.ly/2QNtWDx) Accenture Accenture is backing the 72 Black executives who have called for companies to take a stronger stance, CEO Julie Sweet said. "The Fierce Urgency Is Now in taking a nonpartisan stand for equality and democracy." (bit.ly/31AM45M) Home Depot Inc "We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation. We'll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote," the company said in a statement. JPMorgan Chase & Co "We regularly encourage our employees to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and we stand against efforts that may prevent them from being able to do so," CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. United Parcel Service "UPS believes that voting laws and legislation should make it easier, not harder, for Americans to exercise their right to vote," the company said. (bit.ly/3ugygtI) United Airlines Holdings Inc "Legislation that infringes on the right to vote of fellow Americans is wrong. We believe that leaders in both parties should work to protect the rights of eligible voters by making it easier and more convenient for them to cast a ballot and have it counted," the company said. (bit.ly/31O7vAp) Porsche Cars North America "Equal access to the polls for every voter is core to a democracy. (We) hope a resolution can be found between all sides that encourages and enables every eligible vote," the Georgia-based business said. Exxon Mobil "Secure elections and broad access to voting are not mutually exclusive. We're encouraging our elected officials to work together to find solutions that addresses both of those," CEO Darren Woods said in a CNBC interview. (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Arun Koyyur)
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