Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has written an open letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, which was just posted to the company's blog. Stoppelman urges Brewer to veto SB 1062, the controversial bill that would allow businesses in the state to refuse service to anyone based on religious freedom.
Here's the letter in its entirety:
Dear Governor Brewer:
I write to express my concern about SB 1062 and to respectfully request that you veto this legislation.
At the heart of Yelp’s mission is giving consumers the ability to find great local businesses.
Protecting the consumer has been - and will continue to be - our main priority. I believe that every consumer has a right to be served by a business without fear of discrimination. The language of this proposed law would set a dangerous precedent that would allow businesses in Arizona to discriminate against consumers. This is not only wrong, but taints the otherwise stellar reputation of Arizona as a state that excels in attracting new businesses.
SB 1062 would serve to create an environment where consumers would not know how they would be treated - or whether they would even be served - when they patronize a business. This bill goes against the rule that every great business subscribes to, which is that the customer is always right. It will not only be bad for customers, but also bad for local business in the state. I also believe that it would be in consumers’ interests to be made aware of businesses within the state that did engage in discriminatory behavior. Since early 2010, Yelp has hired over 650 employees in Arizona. Over the next few years, we hope to hire hundreds more. It would be unconscionable for the state to encourage discrimination against any of them.
When Yelp originally decided to open an office in Arizona it did so because we believed that the state provided a welcoming business environment. I hope that you will continue to nurture such an environment in the state by vetoing SB 1062.
Located in Scottsdale, Yelp announced the opening of its third office four years ago.
"Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area have a vibrant and growing Yelp community," said Stoppelman at the time. "The region is also a great place to locate a technology business, having a strong infrastructure and an educated talent pool of potential employees. We are excited to make Scottsdale home to our third Yelp office and the hundreds of future Yelp employees who will live, work and play in this great area."
"Yelp's decision to grow and expand here showcases why Arizona is the ideal base for companies who need to reach out to the world," said Donald Cardon, Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce in the announcement. "They now join the growing number of companies ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high-techs to start-ups who enjoy a dynamic business climate, wonderful quality of life and talented workforce."
Here's a look at the real-time Twitter conversation around the bill:
Image via Jeremy Stoppelman, Twitter