In June, after protests against the police killing of George Floyd swept the country, Glenn Kelman, CEO of online real estate brokerage Redfin, wrote an email to his customers in which he committed to doing more to help Black customers find homes in neighborhoods they’ve traditionally been shut out of. Angry Redfin customers flooded the company with messages.
For Kelman, the response underscored why he has so often felt torn about taking political stands on behalf of the company. Kelman, who declined to discuss his political affiliation, said conservative employees had quit Redfin in the past and the company had lost customers when it had taken political positions. “The platform I’m standing on was built by people who voted for Trump and Clinton,” he said. “I have worked for leaders who had very different political views and were not shy about expressing them and it was deflating. I felt that it was an abuse of power.”