While Hoskinson is not a fan of the „Orange Goblin“, he still does not appreciate unsolicited pro-Biden emails from paid service providers.
„My first thought was that he must have been hacked,“ said Hoskinson, reflecting on the opening of an email he received from David Barrett, CEO of Expensify, urging him to vote for Joe Biden:
Hoskinson later discovered that he was not the only one to receive the email at IOHK, but was part of a mass mailing of the same email to all employees in his company. Hoskinson recalled using Expensify, a platform that provides companies with expense management tools, in the early days of IOHK, but could not immediately remember if they were still using it. He mentioned it in a 10-minute YouTube diatribe:
„I don’t believe that in the history of doing business, me doing business, I have ever received from an established company that is a service provider so close to the time of the election, an unsolicited email asking our people to vote for a political candidate“.
He also said that if it turns out that IOHK is still a customer of Expensify, but will not be for long, he intends to break ties with the company and find a new supplier.
Although this case reminds us of the recent controversy surrounding Brian Armstrong’s desire to purge Coinbase from political discourse, there are major differences. Hoskinson emphasised that within the IOHK, he fully supports pluralism and freedom of expression. He said he has never tried to prescribe a particular ideology to his employees or clients:
„I don’t care if you work for me as a contractor employee if you are foaming at the mouth, communist, just crazy and dazed in the eyes, wearing a Che Guevara shirt and all that. Or if you are an unconditional libertarian, cryptanalyst, I don’t care“.
He said he only cares about how individuals can contribute to the company. He said that in the past, some employees had approached him for permission to share their views on various issues publicly, and he always agreed. In this sense, IOHK is „apolitical“:
„And I will remind our employees, contractors and customers who work with us, that we are apolitical in this respect. We appreciate the diversity of thought. We welcome people to share their opinions.
Hoskinson also noted that while he has sometimes expressed his views on politics publicly, he always uses his personal accounts on the networks and has never considered telling his employees how they should vote. In addition, he revealed that his company has never contributed to any political campaign. He also felt that Barrett’s behaviour may be a violation of campaign finance laws:
„I really hope someone contacts the Federal Election Commission about this because it seems like a kind of contribution when a CEO takes his business mailing lists and decides to use those lists to support a particular political candidate. I don’t support Trump. I’ve called him the Orange Goblin on many occasions, and I don’t support Biden either.“
For Barrett, this was not a decision driven by fleeting emotions. The night before, he gave Protocol an extensive interview to justify his position:
„I think it’s easy to justify stepping aside. But I believe that standing aside and doing nothing is an endorsement of the status quo. It’s not choosing not to participate, it’s taking a stand in defense of the status quo.
While Hoskinson and Barrett may disagree strongly on the issue, they both seem to disagree with Armstrong’s apoliticism.