Right-wing media blame wokeness for Silicon Valley Bank failure

Right-wing media are blaming diversity policies and wokeness after the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed following a run on the bank by depositors. The cause of the crisis is complicated, but reports have homed in on a few factors -- the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to combat inflation, and a panic among venture capital firms to withdraw funds in response to liquidity concerns, leaving the bank with a negative cash balance of nearly a billion dollars. Signature Bank in New York has now also collapsed following a run.

In response to the largest collapse since the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has now taken over SVB and is looking to sell the bank. On Monday morning, President Joe Biden made a televised address in which he sought to calm the public and markets, said taxpayers would not fund a bailout, and explained what the federal government would do next.

Despite the layered macroeconomic factors that triggered the end of SVB, right-wing media personalities are rushing to blame diversity and “woke ideology” for the crisis. They are also attacking a SVB executive for supporting LGBTQ programs at the bank.

  • On March 10, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk said “maybe” SVB “should have been more, I don’t know, concerned about whether or not you’re able to make good loans and keep your depositors secure. Now it’s very possible that I am overly exaggerating the woke component here. But I do find it fascinating."
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Citation From the March 10, 2023, edition of The Charlie Kirk Show

  • Later, Kirk asked, “Did Silicon Valley Bank prioritize diversity over competency when building a business and issuing out loans? Did Silicon Valley Bank get distracted about the mirage and the hologram of diversity, equity, inclusion, rather than running a business? Is this the first modern-era woke bank collapse?”
  • Fox News’ Tucker Carlson blamed SVB's focus on “pioneering glass-ceiling-shattering women” for the bank's demise.
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Citation From the March 10, 2023, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight 

  • On Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused Silicon Valley Bank of being “so concerned with DEI and politics,” such that it “diverted from them focusing on their core mission.” Later on the show, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) said that “they were one of the most woke banks in their quest for the ESG-type policy and investing.” 
  • On Fox News’ Cavuto Live, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus called Silicon Valley Bank a “woke bank,” and said it was more focused on “diversity and all of the woke issues” than “the one thing they should, which is shareholder returns.”
  • On Fox & Friends Sunday, co-host Pete Hegseth complained that “the senior vice president of risk management at the bank was heavily focused on LGBTQ+ programs,” and joked with co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy that she was now “broke” because of it. Campos-Duffy also said that SVB focused on “climate change and all the woke issues instead of focusing on the main mission of the bank,” and pointed to an “LGBTQ month of activities” just before the bank collapsed. 
  • On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. blamed “leftist/woke ideology” for Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. 
  • Conservative influencer Rogan O’Handley, who goes by “DC Draino” online, claimed the bank failed because “its head of ‘Risk Management’ was hired for her ESG wokeness.” 
  • On Twitter, former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Miller wrote, “​​So do all the woke execs who ran SVB into the ground get to keep all their money?” He later tweeted, “The woke execs at SVB should be forced to repay depositors out of their own pockets.”  
  • Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander reposted an article on Twitter about the bank’s collapse with the caption “Go woke, go broke.” 
  • The Daily Mail published a story with the headline: “SVB had NO head of 'risk assessment' for nine months before it collapsed... as woke boss for Europe, Middle East and Africa was busy organizing a month-long Pride campaign and a 'Lesbian Visibility Day.’” 
  • Breitbart ran a story headlined: “Pinkerton: Green, Woke, and Now Broke — How SVB Became the 2nd Biggest Bank Failure in U.S. History.” 
  • The New York Post published a story railing against “a head of risk management at Silicon Valley Bank” for “spearheading multiple ‘woke’ LGBTQ+ programs, including a ‘safe space’ for coming-out stories” before its collapse. This story was then shared by QAnon influencers on Telegram. 
  • Conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon on the bank’s collapse: “Get woke, go broke.” 
  • Right-wing media figure and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy partly blamed “diversity, equity, and inclusion and environmental social and governence factors” for the bank’s failure. 
  • Former Fox Business host Trish Regan wrote on Twitter, “#SVB is a perfect case study for the hazards woke ESG investing.” 
  • Right-wing troll Ian Miles Chong tweeted, “If SVB spent more time managing their portfolio instead of having so many groups dedicated to woke initiatives they might be in a better position.”
  • On TikTok, former Newsmax personality Grant Stinchfield blamed “woke” initiatives and “equity, diversity, and inclusion nonsense” for the bank’s collapse. 
  • Newsmax correspondent Mike Carter blamed “woke initiatives” from the company’s head of financial risk management for the bank’s failure.