Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

May 19, 2011 -

A controversial tweet from a non-profit supported by donations from Comcast has caused the company a bit of controversy over the last 24 hours and it all has to do with former FCC Comissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. In case you have forgotten, Meredith Attwell Baker approved the Comcast-NBC merger about four months ago and then - recently - took a job with the same company.

Reel Grrls is a summer camp for teenage girls in Seattle that offers courses on documentary film making, video production and film animation. The trouble began, as most trouble happens online these days - on Twitter. The official account for non-profit Reel Grrls tweeted its disdain for Baker joining Comcast-NBC as a lobbyist:

“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 short sentence was enough to piss off an employee at Comcast-NBC employee, who threatened to pull its funding from the non-profit:

“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,” Steve Kipp, a Comcast Communications executive wrote in an email to Reel Grrls. “This is not the first time either,” Kipp wrote. “I've seen at least one other negative tweet about Comcast.”

The email turned out to be a bad idea. In a statement to the media, Reel Grrls claims said that it is not asking Comcast-NBC to restore any funding but does want the company to "consider whether it is appropriate to expect to be beyond reproach by any who choose to work with them."

Seeing the public response to the exchange changed Comcast-NBC's stance rapidly. The company issued a statement casting Kipps' comments in a bad light:

“We are in the process of reaching out to Reel Grrls in Seattle and let them know the funding the organization has received from Comcast is not in jeopardy,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Comcast. “We sincerely apologize for the unauthorized action of our employee. This is not the way Comcast behaves toward its nonprofit partners."

Source: Politico

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Comments

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

...there's more to this story, from both sides.

-Austin from Oregon

Feel free to check out my blog.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

Uh huh. Comcast wouldnt've cut their funding... ... ... Anyone else smell the distinct scent of horse manure?

 

 

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

I more smell incomplete reporting.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

Most likely, but I still wouldn't put it past Comcast to attempt it.

 

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

Like the Byrds sang, "turn, turn, turn", or in this case, "spin, spin, spin." 

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

I love to see Comcast throw their own under the bus. What an idiot.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

Nice job in making yourselves look like arseholes, Comcast. Go, big corporations, go!

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

Or more like, thanks a lot, Reel Grrls, for making nonprofits look like poor investments. Everyone in the nonprofit sector knows you should never talk smack about your sponsors. Comcast actually played the adult in this case by backtracking, apologizing when it shouldn't have, and promising to continue funding the organization. On the other hand, Reel Grrls just looks incredibly arrogant.

Re: Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

"Or more like, thanks a lot, Reel Grrls, for making nonprofits look like poor investments."

Huh?  In what conceivable way have they done that?

A member of one nonprofit criticized a sponsor.  To what conceivable rational human being would this translate as "Nonprofits are poor investments"?

"Comcast actually played the adult in this case by backtracking, apologizing when it shouldn't have, and promising to continue funding the organization. On the other hand, Reel Grrls just looks incredibly arrogant."

Why can't they both be wrong?  It's a bad idea to bite the hand that feeds you, but it's incredibly bad PR to threaten to cut funding from a nonprofit just because one of its members criticized you.  That's corporate bully stuff and exactly the kind of thing Comcast would be trying to AVOID right now if they, well, had any reason to care what people thought of them.

Course, given that there's no competition in the cable sector and they just breezed through a merger with the help of their newest employee, they don't really have any disincentive to acting like bullies.  They're not going to lose customers and they don't have to worry about government scrutiny.

 
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