Merck Mercuriadis and Jason Flom have signed onto a Richard Branson-led campaign to end capital punishment across the globe.
Since March, when Virgin Group founder Richard Branson announced the launch of the Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty campaign at South by Southwest’s virtual festival, the project has been building support among international businesses and now counts nearly 150 signatories from multiple countries, including executives from Facebook and Salesforce, who are calling for the global abolition of capital punishment.
The campaign views abolition through a lens of discrimination, calling it “a critical step in the movement toward racial and social equality.” In the U.S., for example — the lone Western nation that still practices capital punishment — more than 41% of death row inmates are Black, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, though Black people make up just 13% of the country’s population. Hipgnosis Songs Fund founder and CEO Merck Mercuriadis says music industry leaders have a particular moral obligation to get involved, as the music business has benefited for generations from Black culture. “We have a responsibility to use any leverage the success of our businesses gives us to advocate for the people and communities we make money from and with," Mercuriadis says.