Comcast Cuts Off and Then Reinstates Funding For Nonprofit After A Negative Tweet

Posted May 20, 2011

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is very sensitive to criticism. Last week after Comcast decided to hire a sitting member of the FCC named Meredith Attwell Baker, an employee of the Reel Grrls nonprofit education program sent a tweet questioning whether this was a conflict of interest. Baker had voted in approval of Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal. Comcast cut off funding for Reel Grrls after that tweet was sent out.

Reel Grrls is a non-profit where 15 teenage girls learn how to script write, edit, and make films. Baker starts her job at Comcast on June 3 and she has recused herself from further FCC voting.

“?OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!?? wrote a Reel Grrls employee on TWitter. The Comcast executive that is in charge of sponsoring Reel Grrls read the tweet and did not approve. Comcast VP Steve Kill wrote to Reel Grrls in an e-mail that they would not contribute the $18,000 they promised for the camp.

?I am frankly shocked that your organization is slamming us on Twitter,? said Kipp. The tweet ?has put me in an indefensible position with my bosses. I cannot continue to ask them to approve funding for Reel Grrls, knowing that the digital footprint your organization has created about Comcast is a negative one.?

This isn’t the first time that Reel Grrls negatively wrote about Comcast on Twitter. In the past Reel Grrls also wrote a tweet that was critical of Comcast’s deal with NBC getting approved. After receiving inquiries from the media, Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said that Reel Grrls would receive the funding and that Kipp was not authorized to pull the sponsorship.

Reel Grrls executive director Malory Graham said that she likes that Comcast apologized, but is not sure whether they will accept the funds. Reel Grrls wants to continue their partnership with Comcast, but without having to be censored about their ideas.

[Washington Post]