Danny Glover, ex-spokesman

Danny Glover, ex-spokesman
: Danny Glover was just fired by MCI as its spokesman after a campaign against him by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, launched because, says a show’s press release, Glover…

…called the president of the United States a racist, he blamed American policy for the murderous acts of September 11th, and he signed a petition comparing American soldiers in the Gulf War to 9/11 terrorists. He called America ”the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” And most recently Mr. Glover signed a letter of support for Fidel Castro.

Scott Baron among others complains that this is a blacklist.

But meanwhile, at a SunSpot newspaper forum, a reader says:

It is quite amazing that Mr. Glover complains about getting blacklisted for speaking in favor of a government that blacklists every single person who is against it. Mr. Glover has no idea what “very dark and very sinister means.” As a Cuban having lived in Cuba all my life I know. In Cuba, all persons, from all walks of life who oppose the government are blacklisted. Dissenting carpenters, athletes, electricians, doctors, lawyers, farmers, you name it, are kicked from their jobs and given menial positions for the rest of their lives. Should Mr. Glover happen to live in Cuba and disagree with the government, right now he would be sweeping floors for a living.

The bottom line here is that we all need to stop being scared of free speech. Glover’s a doofus. So’s Scarborough. I’ve heard Danny Glover say many doofus things on TV; he’s certainly not changing my mind about anything — including MCI!

I wouldn’t have fired Glover. I wouldn’t have hired him, either.

: And then there’s the Chris Hedges brouhaha. He gave what has been described as a Chomsyite antiwar speech to a Rockford College graduation and was booed offstage after 18 minutes.

Well, the college shouldn’t be shocked. The guy wrote an antiwar book!

I’m not supporting what he said not am I supporting the mob boos.

I wouldn’t have booed him. But I wouldn’t have brought him either.

  • The right to free speech doesn’t include any right to not have to suffer the economic consequences for your speech. I make a lot of statements on my site, but I don’t expect everyone to like what I say, avoid booing me, and not consider my statements when deciding whether to hire me or not. Have you listened to the crap that Hedges was spewing in that speech? He deserved to be booed. It was rediculous, and even more so considering the venue he chose.
    Just because people boo at a speech or a company fires a spokesperson that makes them look bad doesn’t mean that anybody is “scared of free speech”, Jeff. If I had been MCI I would have fired him, if I’d made the mistake of hiring him in the forst place. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid of anyone’s opinion. It just means I don’t like giving my cash to people who are outspoken and profess views I abhor.
    PS – Am I the only one who can’t get the “Remember Info” checkbox to work on Jeff’s comments? Very strange..

  • Too bad Glover had to open his mouth about Castro. He may have been right or wrong about his other views, but Castro isn’t exactly going to win the humanitarian of the year award this year. And I agree with Del’s idea that you are free to say what you want and free to accept the consequences. Something about heat and a kitchen.

  • Jeremy

    I would suspect that he was also fired because the commercials really sucked. How is Danny Glover eating lemon & lime jelly beans supposed to make me want to buy a phone plan?
    At least that commercial with Martin Sheen was funny. I was sorry to see that pulled.

  • Jack Tanner

    ‘Should Mr. Glover happen to live in Cuba and disagree with the government, right now he would be sweeping floors for a living. ‘
    If he was lucky. He also could have been imprisoned for 27 years for insurrection. If he’s really so sensitive about racism it’s interesting he didn’t choose to denounce a true racist in Castro.

  • Moira

    I would have fired Glover. Spokespeople are hired by national companies because of their perceived broad appeal to potential customers, and a spokesperson whose publicly stated opinions are likely to alienate the majority of the target market is undermining the whole marketing campaign. Glover’s opinions are at odds with the opinions of a majority of Americans, and if he insists on making those views public while appearing as an MCI spokesperson, he risks harming rather than helping MCI’s interests.
    Ditto for the iced tea manufacturer (Lipton?) that killed a planned summer advertising campaign featuring the Dixie Chicks in response to Natalie Maines’s anti-Bush rant; the Dixie Chicks were chosen because Southerners drink a lot of iced tea and listen to country music and at the time of the contract signing, the Dixie Chicks were a perfect choice to star in iced tea commercials, but after Maines’s London concert remark, the group would have poisoned the campaign.
    Celebrities are wrong to demand that an alienated public continue to purchase their products after they’ve make themselves unappealing in some way to that public, and it’s addle-brained to expect the commercial entities that hired them as spokepeople to risk marketplace backlash by keeping them on. The iced tea company hired the Chicks at the height of their popularity and obviously had no idea what was coming; I don’t know whether MCI signed on Glover before or after he started publicly making anti-Bush, anti-troops remarks, but I very much doubt it was after.
    This isn’t fear of free speech because celebrities are free to say whatever they want even if their speech is deeply offensive to many people, but they should realize that voicing infammatory opinions will erode the appeal that helped to make them celebrities in the first place. You’ll never find Howard Stern or Andrew Dice Clay representing a company like MCI because those men, because their speech provokes outrage in so many people, would repel rather than attract most of MCI’s potential customers, and in that sense celebrities like Stern and Clay ARE on a blacklist of potential spokespeople for companies that target middle-class America. There is nothing similar in Glover’s movies or the Chicks’ music, but Glover’s and Maines’s public comments did provoke outrage and because of that they put themselves on the “do not hire” list for companies like MCI and Lipton. Are they being unfairly punished by national companies? Not in my opinion.
    I don’t see this as an issue of trampled first amendment rights but of marketplace incompatibility and concerns relating to the verbiage used to express the polarizing opinions in question. Sheryl Crow’s anti-war speech hasn’t alienated her market because her music appeals to people more likely to share her liberal views than the Chicks’s country music fan base and, as far as I know, her “we won’t have wars if we just get along” line wasn’t terribly inflamatory. Richard Gere hasn’t suffered for his “Free Tibet” speeches, and I don’t expect that the hundreds of celebrities shown on television marching in recent anti-war demonstrations will suffer backlash for protesting the war in Iraq because they haven’t alienated people even though they’ve made their war position public. You can’t say the same about Glover’s comparing US troops to 9/11 hijackers. And the fallout from Maines’s “we’re ashamed that Bush is from Texas” was really about it’s immaturity, pandering overtones, and deception (in the sense that her fans knew she wouldn’t have dared say that during a Texas concert) more than any perceived perfidy. I don’t believe the fallout would have been nearly as bad (or even have occured at allin any serious way) had Glover and Maines written a thoughtful op-ed piece outlining their concerns. The uproar, in other words, had as much (maybe more) to do with the expression and delivery of the speech as with the opinions voiced.
    One other thing regarding marketplace response to activist celebrities–when they blur the line between their professional selves and their political selves (as with foreign policy rants at the Oscars or during concerts or at other non-political public events), they open the door to public response through their professional ventures. If my dentist, while working on my teeth, wanted to talk about the war and explained his reasons for being against it, I wouldn’t hold it against him, but if he railed on in a Glover-like rant about Bush being a racist and claimed that US troops are no better than 9/11 terrorists, I would honestly regard him as so unprofessional and thereby repellant that I might change dentists even if I were happy with his work. I wouldn’t be offended if I saw him holding a “Not in My Name” sign at a rally, but I would be offended if I saw him carrying an anti-semitic sign. Would changing dentists mean I’m afraid of free speech?
    So I wouldn’t have disinvited Sarandon and Robbins from the Bull Durham anniversary event if they promised to keep politics out of it (not even a peace sign!), but if they refused to abide by a no politicking restriction, I would have asked them not to come. That isn’t punishing them for holding anti-war views, it’s refusing to allow them to hijack an event celebrating a great baseball movie and turn it into a liberal political sermon.
    Which brings me to Chris Hedges and another instance of marketplace incompatibility and reaction against how something is said rather than what is said. Hedges’ speech might have received a rousing endorsement at Wellesley, and only a chucklehead would have hired him to speak at Rockford College. But there is also the matter of speaking to the event–a commencement–and despite Hedge’s contemptous dismissal of “climb every mountain” speeches, it is reasonable to expect commencement speakers to keep the event in focus.

  • Jay Gilbert

    After listening to the audio of Chris Hedges’ speech, I found it to be more insulting at a personal level rather than a political one. Not a word of his speech made the slightest acknowledgement of the event he was attending or the audience he was addressing. From the very first word, Hedges seemed to think he was at a National Press Club lunch. He was utterly unconcerned with persuasion, only with hearing his own thoughts go into a microphone and out from loudspeakers; human ears didn’t seem to matter. I think the audience turned on him not so much for his poilitical views as for his utter obliviousness to what this day and event was about for them. I don’t at all mean that he should have given the awful cliche-filled speech that graduations often suffer through. But his words and his performance displayed a complete uncaring of who his audience was; he was totally self-absorbed, and deserved the reaction he got.

  • The Admiral

    Self immolation is interesting to watch in any of its many forms. Danny can I help with anything? Do you need gasoline or matches?