You know what? Who needs Comcast?
Apparently not Reel Grrls. In the wake of Comcast’s temper tantrum over a tweet, Reel Grrls has raised thousands of dollars through calls for donations from around the country. They raised $14,000 on Friday alone. As a result, they are telling Comcast to keep their money, even though the media giant had offered the money back after a national media backlash.
From Reel Grrls:
We appreciate Comcast’s desire to rectify this situation and hope to encourage them to craft a corporate policy that clearly defends freedom of expression in order to ensure that this situation does not arise again.
While we are heartened that Comcast has apologized for its actions, we believe this incident underscores the bigger problems associated with the overwhelming concentration of power that the Comcast/NBC merger and the resulting hire of Baker represents. It was only after a very public debate about Comcast’s punitive actions toward our organization that Comcast was motivated to change its position. Unfortunately, it is exactly this type of public debate that can be squelched by mergers that threaten to raise the price for access to information, limit consumers choices in entertainment and news and give large media corporations the power to decide which opinions will see the light of day.
Given the serious questions Comcast’s initial decision to take punitive measures on our organization raised about the ability of corporations to stifle public discussion, we have decided to redesign our summer camp to focus on developing films about free press issues. We have also decided that we will not be partnering with Comcast on the camp and will instead pursue other sources of funding. We appreciate Comcast’s desire to rectify this situation and hope to encourage them to craft a corporate policy that clearly defends freedom of expression in order to ensure that this situation does not arise again.
Thank you for your interest in this story and we fully respect your freedom to voice your disproval of our decision.
The controversy began when the organization, which empowers young women through the creation of media, questioned the dubiously-ethical hire of former FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker by Comcast. Baker had voted to approve the controversial Comcast/NBC merger just months earlier.
After the tweet, Comcast regional VP of Communications Steve Kipp sent an email saying he was pulling their funds:
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.
Really, Comcast could use the money more than Reel Grrls. After all, there are still at least a couple FCC Commissioners not yet on their payroll, I think. I hear FCC Commissioners are expensive.