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CEO 'Too Busy Scuba Diving' to Deal With Border Crisis

Marc Benioff slammed for CBP contract
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2018 4:29 AM CDT
Updated Sep 26, 2018 6:33 AM CDT
In this Nov. 17, 2010 photo, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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(Newser) – Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is taking flak for his tech company's contract with US Customs and Border Protection—and for the way he backed out of a call with a nonprofit group at the height of the family separation crisis. In an email seen by the Guardian, Benioff called off a July 23 call he had arranged with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services—Raices—because he was "actually scuba diving right now" on a family vacation. "The first thought in my mind … was, 'What is this guy thinking?'" says Raices executive director Jonathan Ryan. "It's one thing to be too busy. It's another thing to be too busy because you’re scuba diving."

Ryan says that when he was able to speak to Benioff a week later, he was surprised that the CEO was "largely uneducated" on the issue of family separation. Salesforce has been the target of protests because of its contract to provide technology to help CBP "drive efficiencies around US border activities." "The inhuman practices that are in full effect along our border today are all continuing to be supported by the Salesforce platform," says Ryan, whose group rejected a $250,000 donation from Salesforce because of the contract. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that protesters urging Salesforce to end the contract marched with a giant cage outside the Dreamforce tech conference Tuesday. (Earlier this month, Benioff and his wife bought Time magazine.)

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