Three protesters interrupted the main idea of Salesforce's largest conference on Tuesday over the company's contract with the Customs and Border Protection.
While Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was speaking at Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual conference in San Francisco, a protester interrupted and talked about the controversial contract.
Benioff has been outspoken about progressive causes, but the company's contract with CBP has been controversial with employees and outside the company. In an interview earlier this year, Benioff said he struggled with the decision to partner with the agency, but eventually the company decided to keep the contract.
On the scene Tuesday, Benioff said the protester would have 30 seconds to speak before leaving. A 30-second timer was then displayed on the giant screen.
After the time was up, security protester Julien Ball escorted with San Francisco Democratic Socialists in America, based on the basic tone.
Ball reminded Benioff that over 650 Salesforce employees last year wrote a letter to him criticizing the company's work with CBP as families separated at the border.
Ball also said that despite Salesforce's talk of values, Benioff ignored these protests.
As Ball was escorted out, Benioff told the audience that he let the protester speak because he believes in free speech.
"I let him stop the program and talk for 30 seconds because I value free speech in this country," Benioff said. [1
Later in the basic tone, two more protesters interrupted.
"We heard from your group and we would like to have a further conversation with you," Benioff told a protester. "We would like to give you other opportunities to talk. Thank you very much."
Ball said that the San Francisco DSA was working with Bay Resistance and Coalition to close the concentration camps to protest Dreamforce.
"We decided to protest because we do not want to live in a country that is demonizing and suppressing immigrant communities," Ball told Business Insider. "Technology companies are complicit. Given Marc Benioff's other humanitarian work, we would like him to step up and do the right thing. "
Besides the main posts, around 25 people protested outside Dreamforce, holding banners and a Bertio puppet.
" The family separation, caged to "Children and the mass internment of immigrants in concentration camps under horrible conditions are unacceptable," Bert Knorr, one of the protesters outside with the San Francisco DSA, told Business Insider. "Salesforce benefits from these human rights violations. This is in direct conflict with the stated values of the company, which claims to be socially responsible and operate in the general public. "
Activists have previously demonstrated outside Salesforce Tower over contract. When Salesforce last year donated $ 250,000 to the Refugee and Immigration Center for education and legal services, the nonprofit immigration organization known as RAICES, rejected the group and demanded that Salesforce terminate the contract.
Salesforce is not the only company criticized for its work with immigration authorities. Amazon, Palantir, Microsoft and GitHub has also faced protests over their business with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Do you have a tip? Contact this reporter by email at email@example.com, Signal at 646.376.6106 , Telegram on @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM on @ rosaliechan17 . (PR posts by email only, please.) messages are available on request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.