Monday, May 05, 2008

Sponsoring an Anti-Christian Bigot: American TV Responds

A message from American TV about their sponsorship of “comedian” Bill Maher in Milwaukee:
John-

We regret if our advertising co-sponsorship participation for the upcoming Bill Maher concert has offended you or your “readers.” However, I would like to explain our involvement. We did not directly and individually select Mr. Maher’s concert to sponsor and have no direct connection with the production or promotion of this show. American does have partnerships with WKLH Radio with a number of events they co-sponsor at certain venues around Milwaukee including many comedy shows at the Riverside/Pabst Theaters.

As an example, we are also tied to the Dave & Carole Comedypalooza which is a benefit for Milwaukee’s Children Hospital. Bill Maher’s appearance is part of a yearlong series of comedy concerts which we co-sponsor with The Riverside and WKLH.

You are correct, Mr. Maher is a very opinionated political/social humorist and we may not agree with or necessarily condone the content of his material. Nor would we want to defend his style of humor, since the direction his topics take in his act are very subjective. Our intent was to advertise with a well respected concert venue and radio station which bring in many popular comedy performances throughout the year. This is somewhat similar to us having our television commercials run on a popular show during the year and then have that show deal with a rather controversial topic in a given week, a topic that many people might take offense too.

Mr. McAdams, I know this may not change the way you feel and I respect your opinion, but I felt that we owed you a further explanation since you took the time to voice your concerns. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to let me know.

Respectfully,

Stephen DeShong
Corporate Consumer Relations

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7 Comments:

Anonymous frank said...

You seem to favor a boycott of American TV to protest their sponsoring of Bill Maher. Please explain the qualitative difference between this the actions of the individuals who "disrupted" Horowitz's speech at UWM. Both are expressions of displeasure and lack of agreement at political speech. Yet you favor one and decry the other. The only difference, as far as I can tell, is that the individuals at UWM actually had the courage to address Horowitz in person.

2:06 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You seem to favor a boycott of American TV to protest their sponsoring of Bill Maher. Please explain the qualitative difference between this the actions of the individuals who "disrupted" Horowitz's speech at UWM.

Disruption means that a person who wants to speak and people who want to listen are not being allowed to because somebody wants to shout down the speaker.

Boycott means that one is refusing to be part of a transaction that one disagrees with.

If American had sponsored a Klan rally, you would be boycotting them, would you not?

The Klan, by the way, has a right to speak at UWM.

You would think very badly of anybody who sponsored a Klan speech, and you would be within your rights. In fact, you would have every right to boycott any business that sponsored a Klan speech.

But you would not have the right to go disrupt the speech of the Klansman.

You are aware that boycotts have been frequently used by the union movement, the Civil Rights movement, and people who want to boycott the Sudan, right?

2:19 PM  
Anonymous frank said...

I never said that people should not engage in boycotts. People on the left and right can use them for whatever purpose they like. Just as people have the right to disrupt a speaker whose ideas they are in disagreement with. You say: "you would not have the right to go disrupt the speech of the klansman." Why not? I'm not aware of the "no disruption" clause of the first amendment. We have the right to do both.

The two methods are effectively one in the same--they are aggressive responses to speech, and examples of a healthy, free political society.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

frank:

You clearly know nothing about free speech or the difference between boycotts, protests, and disrespectful disruption.

The students who disagreed with Horowitz would have been well within their rights to hold a protest outside the auditorium, or sponsor a debate-style event wherein they could address issues in a formal setting. Or write an editorial. Or hold an event of their own.

They chose E) None of the Above and, therefore, are not "courageous" in any sense of the word.

"Expressions of displeasure" do not give one the right to silence someone they disagree with.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous frank said...

amy--ok, as you obviously know so much more than me, i'm ready to be enlightened. please let me know the authority you rely on (case law, constitutional provisions, etc.) to make your distinction and to support your assertion that people can engage in free speech, so long as it does not qualify as a "disrespectful disruption." I have a feeling I'll be waiting a long time for your answer.

6:28 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Just as people have the right to disrupt a speaker whose ideas they are in disagreement with. You say: "you would not have the right to go disrupt the speech of the klansman." Why not? I'm not aware of the "no disruption" clause of the first amendment. We have the right to do both.

I think you've made it obvious the sort of person you are.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous frank said...

Mr. McAdams:
Please tell me the sort of person I am. I trust that you mean that I have shown myself to be a supporter of free speech rights. I asked a simple question, yet you refuse to answer it. Perhaps because it would expose your ignorance of First Amendment law?

8:53 AM  

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