A California software company CEO angered scores of customers when he sent out a mass email urging they vote for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, and called anything less “a vote against democracy.”
David Barrett, the head of a company called Expensify, which creates and maintains software for businesses to track their expenditures, shocked many of his company’s ten million customers with the email sent out on Thursday night, Bloomberg reported.
Barrett veered away from business finance in the unsolicited message to the company’s 10 million customers after the final presidential debate with an unusual message:
Vote for Biden, he urged them, or they risk being complicit in destroying democracy.
I use an app called @expensify to keep track of my receipts
Look at this absolute garbage email I got from the CEO after the debate last night
PANIC! All Assets Deployed! pic.twitter.com/px75mu6eCJ
— Incarnated Fruit (@TitanJenn) October 23, 2020
On Expensify’s website, it gives the pitch, “Whether you’re a road warrior with pockets full of receipts or a busy accountant buried in paperwork, Expensify automates the entire receipt and expense management process.”
But Barrett, who is based in San Francisco, had a pitch that was much more political and much more targeted.
In his email to his company’s clients, Barrett downplayed the threat of voter fraud, cautioned against voting for President Donald Trump and also slammed the idea of voting for third party candidates.
Barrett prefaced, “It’s not like we did this with a lot of enthusiasm. We did this out of a perceived necessity,” before writing, “Expensify depends on a functioning society and economy; not many expense reports get filed during a civil war.”
He also said, per Bloomberg, “I am confident our democracy (and Expensify) can survive a Biden presidency. I can’t say the same about Trump.”
“I’m saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting at all — they’re all the same, and they all mean: ‘I care more about my favorite issue than democracy. I believe Trump winning is more important than democracy,” he added.
“I am comfortable standing aside and allowing democracy to be methodically dismantled, in plain sight,'” Barrett wrote.
“Anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.”
Backlash to the partisan email from the CEO of the business expense software company was swift online.
Numerous users on Twitter claiming to be Expensify customers hit Barrett for the tone of the email, as well as the perception he violated their trust by using their personal and business information to campaign for a political candidate.
I just received an email from @expensify CEO David Barrett telling me to vote for Joe Biden. Iohk currently uses expensify services. We will immediately begin looking for a new vendor. I did not sign up to have a service provider CEO email my employees pushing a political agenda pic.twitter.com/smJdyli86G
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) October 23, 2020
@dbarrett @expensify This is probably one of the single most disappointing things I’ve ever seen in my life. Our company did not give you access to our emails and our employees emails so that you could force your views upon them. #dumpexpensify pic.twitter.com/lzI0TZzHEU
— SWi, LLC (@SWifence) October 23, 2020
— Rebecca Zaynor (@RebeccaZaynor) October 23, 2020
Thanks for the spam. I’m a registered Independent and don’t need a lecture. Congratulations for making my decision a lot easier. Unsubscribed and will most definitely not recommend expensify to anyone.
— Ruben Reza (@rubenreza) October 23, 2020
Started using our existing QuickBooks online account today for expenses. When @expensify violated their privacy agreement to assert a leftist agenda we looked into assets we already had to replace them. So far, so good. pic.twitter.com/GoYTuEdMeh
— Joe Pilot, MD (@JoeSilverman7) October 24, 2020
All of my employees have received an email from David Barrett the CEO of Expensify. In essence his email is telling us how to vote. Sell your software and end promoting your political agenda. We are done with this company.
— Dan Schultejann (@DanSchultejann) October 23, 2020
Not all of Barrett’s critics were conservatives:
The CEO of Expensify just emailed everyone in his company’s database that they should vote for Biden. I mean, he’s not wrong you should vote for Biden but I don’t think the businesses that put their employees emails in Expensify want him to use their emails for political purposes pic.twitter.com/quSTJFC9YD
— Lauren Almes (@LaurenAlmes) October 23, 2020
Barrett’s email was sent amid an ongoing conversation regarding anti-conservative bias among tech companies.
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