(Bloomberg) -- Danish food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen Holding A/S has stripped its logo of rainbow colors and removed LGBTQ employees’ stories from its social media sites after saying it received threats in the US.
The decision was a “difficult” one, taken after US employees felt unsafe, Winnie Bugel, head of compliance and corporate affairs, said in comments forwarded by email. The company also was told its products would be boycotted, she said. The story was first reported by the Borsen newspaper.
Chr. Hansen, which is currently the subject of a multi-billion-dollar takeover, joins a growing list of companies under attack from conservative groups and activists in the US for their support of the LGBTQ community. Target Corp. last month removed some LGBTQ-themed merchandise after its employees were threatened.
“We have done this to protect our American employees who have been subjected to serious threats and aggressive accusations,” Bugel said. She didn’t elaborate on the nature of the threats.
Some Chr. Hansen employees said they were “extremely angry” about the decision, made after a meeting with management, according to Borsen. In a open letter, they said the company had placed profits and customer comfort ahead of employees, particularly vulnerable ones most in need of support, the newspaper reported.
While Chr. Hansen employees have dropped participating in the Copenhagen Pride in protest over the company’s decision, the company continues to financially support the event, Bugel said. Chr. Hansen is also continuing its internal diversity efforts, she said.
Chr. Hansen, which also makes products for the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, employees about 3,800 people in more than 30 countries. Ranked among the world’s most sustainable companies, Chr. Hansen is in the processes of being bought by another Danish company, Novozymes A/S.
Novozymes, which still has rainbow colors on its social media platforms, declined to comment on whether it has faced any threats, when contacted by Bloomberg News. The company also said it won’t comment on Chr. Hansen’s decision because the two firms haven’t yet merged.
“We do not comment on policies or decisions made by other companies,” Lina Danstrup, the chief spokesperson at Novozymes, said by email. “At Novozymes, we celebrate Global Pride Month and see it as an opportunity to reflect on how we promote diversity and inclusion and create a workplace where everyone feels included.”
(Updates to add comments from Novozymes in last paragraphs)
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