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Oracle employees say Safra Catz and Larry Ellison don't talk about their Trump ties internally. After the US Capitol siege, some want action: There's 'blood on their hands' (ORCL)

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 09 Jan 2021

<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/5f3eed0542f43f001ddfe32b-2100/trump ellison.png" border="0" alt="larry ellison donald trump" data-mce-source="Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Win McNamee/Getty Images"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Oracle's Larry Ellison and Safra Catz, two of President Donald Trump's most prominent backers in the tech industry, are silent almost two days after supporters of the president staged an attempted coup at the US Capitol.</p><p>In the aftermath of the insurrection,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/us-capitol-siege-business-leaders-react-jamie-dimon-alexis-ohanian-2021-1">tech leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft president Brad Smith</a> released public statements denouncing the actions of the pro-Trump mob, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai chose to address their employees directly.</p><p>From conversations with Oracle insiders, however, it appears that the only communication on events at the Capitolinternal or otherwisehas been a Slack message to some employees on Wednesday suggesting the company was "immediately pausing all social media activity," including "organic and paid."</p><p>Oracle employees confirmed to Insider that they've received no word from company leaders about the events at the Capitol as of Friday morning.</p><p>Furthermore, conversations with six current employees suggest, this isn't unusual for Oracle: Several of those current employees, as well as one additional former employee, suggest that the company's culture encourages keeping politics separate from the work, and in fact Ellison and Catz rarely communicate about current events directly with its workforce at all.</p><p>This isn't always the case: Ellison and Catz sent an email to all Oracle employees in June on the police killing of George Floyd: "We want you to know that at Oracle, we stand in solidarity against racism, hatred, discrimination, and bigotry," it said in part. Employees suggest that this sort of messaging is rare, however.</p><p>Oracle's culture around political activism, or a lack thereof, sets it apart from many of its peers in Silicon Valley. <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-alphabet-workers-form-union-us-canada-contractors-2021-1">Google employees recently formed a first-of-its-kind union</a> to push their employer to take a stand on moral and ethical issues, while <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/profile-of-coinbase-ceo-brian-armstrong-and-leadership-style-2020-10">startup Coinbase found itself at the center of controversy</a> when its CEO outright banned political activism at the company.</p><p>Oracle employees say that episodes like the recent employee walkout notwithstanding, the database giant has long seen work and politics as separatea principle that they say extends all the way up to Ellison and Catz. In December, <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/oracle-moving-to-austin-hq-silicon-valley-texas-2020-12-1029886737">Oracle moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas</a>, away from its long-time home in Silicon Valley.</p><h2>'Honestly it doesn't have impact inside the company, whatever my personal feelings may be'</h2><p>The employees with whom Insider spoke aren't necessarily representative of the tech titan's 135,000-strong global workforce, but many of them agree that Ellison and Catz's personal ties to the Trump administration have little to nothing to do with the day-to-day work at the companyand that there's little to no pressure from within to change that dynamic, even after Wednesday's events.</p><p>"It's not a secret our senior leadership [supports Trump], but honestly it doesn't have impact inside the company, whatever my personal feelings may beI certainly haven't seen it," one current employee said. That employee also points out that <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/look-inside-president-trump-and-larry-ellisons-relationship-2020-8">Ellison has in the past supported Democrats including President Bill Clinton</a>.</p><p>Oracle leaders, the employee said, don't send out the ideological emails you might see from companies like Google or Microsoft. "That's the culture of the company. Those emails never come out. It's very personal," the person said.</p><p>At the same time, some of those employees said they would like to see Oracle take a stand in the wake of the historic events at the Capitol this week, given the executives' relationships with Trump.</p><p>Earlier this year, some <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/look-inside-president-trump-and-larry-ellisons-relationship-2020-8">Oracle employees staged a walkout in protest of a Trump fundraiser held at Ellison's California home</a>; one employee suggested that there might be more of an organized employee response within Oracle to the attempted coup if not for the current situation of remote work, making it harder for people to communicate across teams.</p><p>Another employee told Insider that while they respect Ellison's private political choices, they wish that he and Catz would publicly distance themselves fromor even denounceTrump's attacks on the voting system.&nbsp;"In the end, Trump stood for shaking the tree if you want to label it lightly. It would be nice to reassure that we are fully behind democracy," the employee said.</p><p>Some employees, however, take stronger stances on the issue.</p><p>"I believe Safra and Larry and anybody who supported these people has blood on their hands," one employee said. "These are smart people who have been in the industry for a long time. They will do anything they can to keep the stock price up even if that includes saying silent, and that's really regrettable."</p><p>Another employee took <a href="https://twitter.com/sfonplsql/status/1347263831962169349's=20">to Twitter to call for Ellison and Catz to publicly denounce Trump.</a> He wrote: "@larryellison is the leader of the company in which I am employed: @Oracle. He is also widely perceived, along with CEO Safra Catz, as supporting Donald Trump. For the sake of employees, shareholders and customers, it's time to publicly condemn Donald J. Trump, Larry Ellison!"</p><h2><strong>Trump support from Oracle leadership has been criticized in the past</strong></h2><p>Ellison and Catz aren't the only tech leaders who so far have declined to condemn the riotersTesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the first- and second-richest people in the world as of Thursday, have not issued statements as of the time of publication. Ellison, notably, sits on Tesla's board and is a close adviser to Musk.&nbsp;</p><p>However, Oracle's top leaders are unique among their peers for their ties to Trump. Ellison, Oracle's cofounder and chairman, is <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/larry-ellison-oracle-trump-support-2020-4">a notable supporter</a> of the president. In February, he allowed&nbsp;the Trump campaign to use his home in California to host a fundraiser, though he wasn't personally present.&nbsp;In April, he <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/larry-ellison-oracle-trump-support-2020-4">publicly affirmed his support for Trump</a>, saying "I don't think he's the devilI support him and want him to do well."</p><p>Catz, meanwhile, joined Trump's transition team in 2016. Later, in 2018, Catz was even reportedly under consideration for <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/safra-catz-profile-oracle-sole-ceo-2019-9">a top post</a> in Washington, DC as national security adviser.</p><p>These ties have sometimes sparked tension within Oracle. A Change.org petition asking Oracle leaders to condemn the Trump fundraiser held at Ellison's house <a href="https://www.change.org/p/larry-ellison-uphold-company-ethics">gathered close to 10,000 signatures from users online (though it's not clear how many were from Oracle employees)</a>. The day after the fundraiser, about 300 Oracle employees<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/look-inside-president-trump-and-larry-ellisons-relationship-2020-8"> staged a walkout in a protest action called "No Ethics / No Work."</a></p><p>"I have so much respect for the earlier part of Larry's career and his vision," former Oracle executive George Polisner, who <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/21/oracle-executive-resigns-ceo-safra-catz-donald-trump">publicly quit in 2016 when Catz first joined Trump's transition team</a>, told Insider on Thursday. "I can't reconcile that intellect with supporting someone like Donald Trump."</p><p>Polisner said that Oracle's hesitance to discuss political matters can sometimes feel disrespectful to its workforce. For example, Catz made no internal announcement when she joined Trump's transition team, and many employees heard through news reports at the time, which he said felt like "a slap in the face to many Oracle employees."</p><p>A current employee also disagreed with Catz's decision to join the transition team, and suggested the exec was representing Oracle in an official capacity while serving in that role.</p><p>"When you do something like that, you are representing the 135,000 people who work with you at least," the employee said. "At least half of us are going to disagree with that choice and it's difficult to square our employment with that."</p><p><em><strong>Are you an Oracle employee or do you have insight to share'</strong>&nbsp;Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (astewart@businessinsider.com).</em></p><p><em><strong>Got a tip'</strong>&nbsp;Contact this reporter via email at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:rmchan@businessinsider.com" data-analytics-module="body_link" data-analytics-post-depth="100" data-uri="7e2f05711a4bee12ceebd0746e00938a">rmchan@businessinsider.com</a>, Signal at&nbsp;646.376.6106,&nbsp;Telegram at @rosaliechan, or&nbsp;Twitter DM at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/rosaliechan17" data-analytics-module="body_link" data-analytics-post-depth="100" data-uri="415afcd98bee2957b028cad79e1352a8">@rosaliechan17</a>. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong>SEE ALSO:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/oracle-executives-europe-middle-east-asia-emea-japac-2021-1" >Oracle quietly replaced the executives running its $11 billion Europe, Middle East, and Africa business</a></strong></p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/oracle-ellison-catz-silent-us-capitol-siege-politics-2021-1#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-its-like-travel-during-coronavirus-outbreak-planes-airports-virus-2020-3">Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak</a></p>
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