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."