Monday, May 05, 2008

American Pulling Sponsorship From Bill Maher Performance

We just talked to Wyn Becker, top Public Relations guy at American TV, and he informs us that American TV will be pulling its sponsorship of the controversial Bill Maher concert in Milwaukee.

Maher, who quite openly hates Christians, was sponsored by American TV, WKLH Radio, and the Shepherd Express in what appears to have been a package deal to sponsor acts at certain venues -- the Riverside and Pabst theaters in Milwaukee in this case.

The American logo will not be seen on ads for the comedian, on the web page promoting his performance or any signage connected to the concert.

Becker mentioned that American has been bombarded with calls on this issue today.

Becker admitted that he had seen the list of comedians slated to perform. “I was aware . . . they sent it to me ahead of time” he told us. And further, “they sent the list over.” Becker further said “Did it slip by me? I looked it over and it seemed ok.” It appeared that Becker recognized Maher as a well-known name, but it didn’t “click” that he had made a long series of bigoted comments about Christians.

Becker stressed that, in the entire scope of American TV public relations, the comedians series at the Riverside and Pabst theaters “isn’t necessarily a huge project.” So it’s not as though anybody at American’s corporate headquarters in Madison sat down and hashed over the list of performers.

Becker made it clear that the Maher performance is part of a package of comedy shows -- perhaps 15 per year -- that American most certainly does want to support. “We sponsor the Pabst and the Riverside,” he said, describing them as “historic old venues.”

Indeed, both venues have been revitalized in recent years, and Becker seemed proud of that fact and of the comedy series that has featured acts such as “Second City.” In any given year, American may not know all the acts that will be booked when it promises support before the season starts.

Although everybody -- including American and the management of the Riverside/Pabst operation -- ought to be more careful about involving sponsoring corporations in promotions that will prove embarrassing, no deliberate decision to do something known to offend Christians was made.

It appears that American has done everything it can, at this point, to distance itself from this inflammatory and intolerant comedian.

[Update]

Charlie Sykes has an update on this, with an e-mail from Wyn Becker that we had not seen before, saying essentially the same thing he said in his interview with us.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous allen said...

I just really hope that you acknowledge the extent of your intellectual hypocricy in supporting a boycott of American because of Bill Maher while criticizing the protesters at the David Horowitz speech. You do realize that you are just like them, don't you? You are all just trying to intimidate and silence those you disagree with, just by different means.

4:36 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

allen,

Kindly read what I wrote. I did not criticize "protestors" at the Horowitz speech.

I saw Shoebat speak at UWM, and there were most certainly protestors. But nobody actually disrupted the talk.

The difference is between expressing your displeasure with what somebody says, and stopping them from speaking by force.

As for boycotts: you are aware that the Civil Rights movement used boycotts, right?

And that a few years ago leftists boycotted Coors because of the conservative politics of the owner?

Maher has a right to speak, but not to get any of my money (I won't buy a ticket) nor does he have a right to get any money from American.

Corporations can support or refuse to support any comedian as they see fit.

5:12 PM  
Blogger capper said...

Maher has a right to speak, but not to get any of my money (I won't buy a ticket) nor does he have a right to get any money from American.

Corporations can support or refuse to support any comedian as they see fit.


Ah, but your badgering and making something out of nothing has forced them to waive their right to sponsor this event. Likewise, if this event ends up being cancelled, you have denied the right of anyone who would have been willing to buy a ticket and enjoy themselves. You have effectively forced your will on people that never even heard of you, much less would care who you are. But that is typical for those of your nature, unfortunately.

9:03 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Ah, but your badgering and making something out of nothing has forced them to waive their right to sponsor this event.

Suppose Maher hated homosexuals? And suppose American supported him? And suppose the gay lobby got up in arms?

You would be just fine with that.

Christians have the same rights as gays.

I know that principle is one you have trouble with.

Nobody has any obligation to buy at American. It's a matter of free choice.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Daniel Cody said...

Christians have the same rights as gays.

But do "gays" have the same rights as Christians then in your opinion, or is it an equation that only works one way?

If so, then I'm happy to hear that you're a full supporter of gay rights. Including those which give them the right to domestic partnerships and to marry.

9:30 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

If so, then I'm happy to hear that you're a full supporter of gay rights. Including those which give them the right to domestic partnerships and to marry.

The context here is free speech rights.

And no, I don't believe in gay marriage.

Homosexuals are simply differently situated in one key way: procreation.

But this isn't the thread for discussing gay marriage. So if you want to respond, keep it in the context of expression.

Do gays have a right not to be offended that Christians don't?

My guess is that you think they do.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"{Homosexuals are simply differently situated in one key way: procreation."

Herr Professor, I think that this argument lost all credence when the state began to permit people to adopt children. My wife and I have two children that came into our home the old fashioned way and one what came to us across the ocean. Our ability to procreate had nothing to do with our legal right to be her parents.

See my point? Using the inability to procreate as a rationale for opposing gay marriage is a straw man. That dog will no longer hunt, Professor.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Ah, but your badgering and making something out of nothing has forced them to waive their right to sponsor this event

"Forced"?

Really.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that there is a difference between UWM/Shoebat and American/Maher, and here is what it is.

The protestors who wanted to silence Shoebat tried to silence his message through disruption and attempting to stop the venue from allowing him to speak.

American pulled its sponsorship of Maher because people contacted the company and let them know that they did not appreciate the company supporting the type of message that Maher presents. Then American made its decision based on the complaints. At no time was American FORCED to either sponsor or drop its sponsorship of the event. They simple made a decision based on what their customers asked for.

That is the difference. American made a decision based on the will of its customers, while the protestors tried to force their will upon UWM and the sponsors of the Shoebat speech.

To compare the two would require the protestors of the Shoebat speech to have contacted the sponsors of the speech and let them know that they didn't appreciate his message and that they would no longer support or patronize their group/business if they continued their support for Shoebat. This would have allowed the sponsors of Shoebat to make a decision on supporting or dropping the speech.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to deal with Maher would be to let him start to speak. Then shout him down, throw pies at him, chant and disrupt his show.

I learned that "free speech" tactic from somewhere.

American TV chose not to back a bigot. Those that disagree can chose to not support American TV.

BTW, where were you leftists when Imus was in the hotseat? How is this case different? Free speech, right? Were boycott's of Imus and co fair game? Or not?

10:09 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"{Homosexuals are simply differently situated in one key way: procreation."

Herr Professor, I think that this argument lost all credence when the state began to permit people to adopt children.


No, it didn't.

The state has an interest in children being conceived, born and raised by couples in a marriage relationship.

If heterosexuals are going to have sex and have children (which they are, or the species dies out) it is best that it be within the bonds of marriage.

Adoption is a different matter, although stable married relations are the best context for adoption also.

Of course, given the state of the foster care system, letting less than optimal couples (or even single people) adopt might be a sad necessity.

In such cases, there are various privileges that adopters get: a tax break, etc.

By the way, this whole subject is off topic for this post.

11:46 AM  

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