Four months ago, former FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker approved a massive and controversial merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, creating a kind of news/communications/multimedia hydra beast that's forecasted by most to do nothing but drive out competition and drive up prices for millions of customers. Obviously, this merger made the folks at Comcast very happy. And it made them even happier last week when Baker announced she'd be quitting her job at the FCC to go to work full time as a lobbyist . . . for Comcast.
Seattle-area nonprofit Reel Grrls had the nerve to express slight shock via Twitter that Baker would make such a dubious career move. Unfortunately, Comcast's minions apparently troll the Internet for people saying mean things about them, and Reel Grrls soon found itself briefly kicked off the company's donor list.
Here's the Tweet that earned Comcast's rage.
OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? http://su.pr/1trT4z #mediajusticeless than a minute ago via Su.pr Favorite Retweet ReplyReel Grrls
And here's Comcast's initial response from Steve Kipp, a vice president of communications.
"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. I cannot in good conscience continue to provide you with funding -- especially when there are so many other deserving nonprofits in town."
The move would have cost Reel Grrls $18,000 in funding, which for the small nonprofit is a big deal, and would have likely forced the group to cancel programs that teach young women the ins and outs of video production.
But after the press started asking questions and people online started noticing what Comcast did, the company changed its tune.
The Washington Post reports:
After media inquiries, Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said Thursday afternoon in a statement that Comcast had made a mistake.
"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," Fitzmaurice said. "This is not the way Comcast behaves toward its nonprofit partners."
The best thing of all about this story?
As for Reel Grrls, Graham said three girls who had signed up for the camp are planning to come in voluntarily to create a film about Comcast's decision to pull their funding.