In a viral LinkedIn post, Michael Lopez — who introduced himself as a “queer brown person” — said that he was “fired during Pride month for speaking up in defense of abortion rights.” Lopez explained that he was responsible every Friday for processing a report and sending his work to 275 people — a duty he neglected on the Friday that the Supreme Court announced its decision.
“I didn’t do them today,” he said in an email that appeared to be in response to a superior. “I’m in mourning due to the attack on people with uteruses in the US. Federally guaranteed access to abortion is gone.”
He then said that his employer “must stop donating to anti-abortion, anti-queer and anti-trans politicians” such as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), or else “expect more unproductive days.” He concluded the email with the salutation “yours in fury.”
Lopez commented in his post that “it’s been hard to process how [companies] expect us to be productive while our rights are being stripped away” and noted that several coworkers sent him supportive emails. His manager even gave him the rest of the day off. Yet he predicted that “based on management’s response, there was a good possibility I might be fired as a result.”
Lopez alleged that he received a “surprise” video chat on June 27 from the human resources department informing him that he had been terminated for not doing his job and “disrupting the day of 275 people,” according to a paraphrase. He then sent a message to the members of the email list, saying that the company was “letting you know where they stand on employees speaking out on politicians that support marginalization for folks like me.”
“Their actions today, their silence on Friday are indicative of their motivations. Profit at all costs. Solidarity, only if it’s profitable,” Lopez concluded in his post. “And above all of that is maintaining the status quo and saying fuck you to the working class. Because that’s what happened today.”
A Universal Music Group spokesperson told The New York Post that although it cannot “discuss an individual’s personnel record” as a matter of policy, Lopez’s allegations are “inaccurate.” The spokesperson added that the company is ensuring “important healthcare services remain accessible to employees” and will continue to “financially support non-profit groups working in this area.”
A report for Billboard revealed that other music companies are voicing support for abortion after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which dealt with a Mississippi ban on the procedure after 15 weeks gestation.
Concert company Live Nation announced via social media that it would cover travel expenses for employees seeking “women’s healthcare services” across state lines, as well as bail expenses for employees arrested in peaceful protests. The company also matched a $500,000 donation from rapper Lizzo to abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
Entertainment company Oak View Group will also cover abortion-related travel expenses. “We fully support equal access for all women to obtain the proper care that they deem appropriate for their bodies,” a company statement said.