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Investor group seeks transparency over Netflix political lobbying, citing ‘potential reputational damage’ – Media Play News

Co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos

Eric Gruenwedel

A Netflix investor group has submitted a shareholder proposal calling for more transparency around the streamer’s political lobbying and contributions.

In a May 18 filing, Boston Common Asset Management said it was seeking shareholder support for its Proposal 8 on upcoming 2022 shareholder proxy voting.

The group is asking for input on Netflix’s policies and procedures, which govern both direct and indirect lobbying, in addition to any payments from the streaming giant. Specifically, Boston Common seeks information about Netflix’s membership of, and payments to, lawmaking organizations. Also sought is a description of the management of Co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos and the decision-making process and board oversight in making the above payments.

“Without a clear system of ensuring accountability, company assets can be used to advance public policy goals that are inconsistent with the company’s public positions and policies, and therefore may pose risks to Netflix’s reputation to the detriment of shareholder value.” ,” Boston Common wrote in the filing.

According to the filing, Netflix spent about $690,000 on federal lobbying in 2021 and more than $8.8 million since 2012. Expenditure on federal lobbying is not included in the balance sheet. Boston Common claims that Netflix spent $406,250 lobbying in California from 2019 to 2020. Netflix also reportedly spent between €700,000 ($739,000) and €799,999 ($845,000) in 2020 lobbying in Europe.

According to press reports, Netflix “has taken its policy strategy more internationally, where most of its growth lies and where it faces tough regulators.”

Netflix says it rejects Proposal 8, claiming it is already disclosing spending on politics and lobbying.

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