Haley said South Carolinians viewed the pro-slavery flag as a symbol of 'service and sacrifice and heritage.'
Employees of Goldman Sachs are asking the company to drop former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley from a scheduled appearance at the company's "Talks at GS" series after she made remarks complimentary of the Confederate flag.
"Several employees, including members of the firm’s Black Network, have reached out to Goldman President John Waldron, among other senior managers, asking that the engagement be called off," Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Haley served as ambassador under the Trump administration from January 2017 to December 2018. Before that, she was governor of South Carolina.
In an interview with right-wing host and conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck earlier this month, Haley said people in South Carolina equated the Confederate flag with "service and sacrifice and heritage" before the Charleston church shooter, who killed nine black churchgoers in 2015, "hijacked" it.
Goldman Sachs officials have since told the employees who initially raised concerns about Haley's appearance that the event would go on as scheduled. The officials said in an email that they were "committed to using the Talks at GS platform to directly explore the views of our guests, particularly on difficult topics."
"John Waldron will ask Ambassador Haley to address her recent comments on the Confederate flag and will share the sentiments of you and others in our community," they added.
The Confederate flag was flown during the Civil War by the pro-slavery Confederacy, which sought to preserve the practice of owning people within the United States. After the Confederacy lost the war — and long before the tragic 2015 church shooting — racists in the Jim Crow South, which included South Carolina, flew the flag in defense of racist policies and beliefs.
Because of this history, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) lists the flag as part of its "Hate on Display" database of hate symbols.
"The flag also served as a potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy, which has caused it to be very popular among white supremacists in the 20th and 21st centuries," the ADL notes.
Haley has attempted to defend herself in the wake of the backlash by citing comments she made when the Confederate flag was removed from state buildings in 2015. But even then, she said South Carolinians viewed the flag as "a symbol of respect, integrity, and duty."
Haley said that supporting the flag was "not hate, nor is it racism."
Haley's former boss, Donald Trump, has expressed his own admiration for pro-slavery Confederate symbols and monuments. Reacting to the movement to remove such hate symbols from around the country in recent years, Trump has equated statues of Confederate figures to statues of the nation's founders.
"Are we going to take down statutes to George Washington?" Trump asked in August 2017.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.