After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a former employee of Universal Music Group has claimed that he was fired for “speaking up” for abortion rights — after admitting that he refused to come to work because he was in “mourning” over the Supreme Court’s decision.
Michael Lopez, a production coordinator at Universal Music Enterprises, wrote a message on his LinkedIn after his termination from the company.
“I’m a queer brown person, and I was fired during Pride month for speaking up in defense of abortion rights,” Lopez wrote.
“Last Friday, like countless other folks, I was devastated by the news of the supreme court’s attack on abortion rights,” he continued. “Paired with the flood of anti-queer and anti-trans legislation, it’s been hard to process how company’s expect us to be productive while our rights are being stripped away.”
Lopez then discussed one of the tasks he is expected to complete as part of his position, processing reports about upcoming releases through UMG and sending them and other updates to his coworkers. However, on the day of his firing, he instead wrote the following email.
“I didn’t do them today. I’m in mourning due to the attack on people with uteruses in the US. Federally guaranteed access to abortion is gone,” he continued, mentioning politicians who had received donations from UMG. “Vivendi and Universal Music Group must stop donating to anti-abortion, anti-queer and anti-trans politicians. Politicians like Marsha Blackburn, Ken Buck, Victoria Spartz, etc. Or expect more unproductive days. Yours in fury, Michael Lopez.”
Lopez received support from coworkers, but was quickly told to take the rest of the day off by a manager, and the following Monday, he was greeted by an unexpected Zoom call from the company’s HR department, where he discovered he had been fired for, “‘Not doing your job, disrupting the day of 275 people and poor judgment.’”
Lopez reportedly wrote a follow up email where he informed his coworkers that he had been fired for the incident, claiming the company’s actions were “letting you know where they stand on employees speaking out on politicians that support marginalization for folks like me.”
“A brown queer person terminated during Pride month speaking in support of abortion rights. Seems like that’s exactly what America is all about right now.”
While Lopez’s message went viral on LinkedIn, not every response he received was positive, with some calling him out for his actions and his attempt to attack the company as racist and homophobic.
One comment called him, “entitled, lazy, and obviously ignorant,” writing: “Yeah this is pretty pathetic…You a grown man pretending to have ‘grief’ so unbelievably unbearable over something that will never affect you in any way that you can’t perform a simple task at work.”
Another wrote: “If you just sent the report like they asked every Friday… would you have lost your job? Most likely no. You didn’t lose your job based on your color or sexual orientation so please stop thinking that. Your actions are childish cause for termination.”
A spokesperson for Universal Music Group wrote a response to the message, saying, “As a matter of policy, we can’t discuss an individual’s personnel record. We can say that what was posted on social media is inaccurate. UMG has a long record of support for women’s issues. As we wrote to our US employees, UMG views reproductive health care as essential.”
The spokesperson continued, “In the wake of the recent US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade, the company has extended its efforts to assure that these important healthcare services remain accessible to employees. We also financially support non-profit groups working in this area and offer a match for employee’s contributions to those groups, as well.”
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