May 19, 2011; Source: WSJ.com | “OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? http://su.pr/1trT4z #mediajustice”
This is the tweet sent by a staff member at Reel Grrls, a small nonprofit in Washington State. The tweet refers to the fact that Comcast had just hired Meredith Atwell Baker, one of the members of the Federal Communications Commission who had voted to approve Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal as a lobbyist – yet another example of the famed revolving door between federal agencies and the corporations they regulate.
Steve Kipp, a Comcast vice president of communications responded to the tweet with the following email: “Given the fact that Comcast has been a major supporter of Reel Grrls for several years now, I am frankly shocked that your organization is slamming us on Twitter. This is not the first time either. I’ve seen at least one other negative Tweet about Comcast . . . I cannot in good conscience continue to provide you with funding –especially when there are so many other deserving nonprofits in town.”
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Reel Grrls are not apparently all that easily intimidated and it released the e-mail (of course) – whereupon Comcast’s vice president of government communications, Sena Fitzmaurice released a statement saying, “We are in the process of reaching out to ReelGrrls in Seattle and let them know the funding the organization has received from Comcast is not in jeopardy and we sincerely apologize for the unauthorized action of our employee. This is not the way Comcast behaves toward its nonprofit partners.”
Reel Grrls responded by saying that they were just thrilled that they had not actually lost the funding and that they were happy that their corporate partner did not respond to the exchange of ideas with punitive measures.
Good job standing up for free speech and clean government Grrls. You are a role model to the young women with whom you work.—Ruth McCambridge