WHAT: Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, which owns and produces CES, lit a firestorm when he chose Ivanka Trump to keynote at CES. The move prompted a barrage of negative press about political intent and opportunities for women in tech, and set off a volcano of backlash that erupted on social media using the hashtag #BoycottCES.
On this week’s episode of Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin on Westwood One Podcast Network, Shapiro tells Shelly and Ross about the controversy and offers an impassioned defense as to why he placed President Trump’s daughter in one of the highest-profile speaking opportunities at CES.
Here are some of Shapiro’s comments from the conversation:
On why he selected Ivanka Trump to be a keynote speaker
5:55 — “It was the right thing to do, without question, no doubts in my mind.”
On support for the decision from other tech leaders
6:16 — “Sitting in the front row of the audience and was backstage with her was Marc Benioff of Salesforce, no one has ever called him a Conservative or Republican, and he was in total agreement with me in terms of having her and her importance and what she’s done for the tech industry. Uh, also Tim Cook of Apple, uh, Ginni Rometty of IBM, and the CEO of Walmart – so many others have great respect for her and indeed our entire board unanimously voted that we would support her efforts to focus on the future of technology.”
On why he supports Ivanka Trump
11:45 — “She has done a tremendous amount and she has made this country better, and she’s made the tech industry better, and that’s why I support her.”
On giving Ivanka Trump the opportunity to share the work she’s doing
15:46 — “For those people who criticized the choice, I challenge any one of them to go to our website, look at the video, watch the 40-minute interview, and then give their opinion because right now every one of those opinions was totally uninformed, and I might add, highly sexist. I mean the concept of the Left, that you could be a woman, and that you could be beautiful, and you can be intelligent and make things happen in a very positive way for society makes their heads explode. And you talk about inclusiveness? Inclusiveness means including all sorts of views including those that disagree with you.”
WHO: Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies that produces CES. CTA advocates for skilled immigration, free trade and eliminating regulatory and tax burdens on innovators that delay, restrict or ban products and services.
WHEN: This must-listen and revealing episode of Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin is available NOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.