June 18, 2008

A&E Network: Here's How To Become a Racist Brand

Day of Blogging for Respect In Media

The "Dog the Bounty Hunter" tv show is making a return to the A&E network this summer. As you may remember, Dog was outed as a bit of a racist pig when his son and his girlfriend made public a recording of Dog's racist tirade caught on tape.

In response to viewer demand and clamor for the show, A&E has decided to return the program to the airwaves. Clearly, the price for being a racist, for offending African American viewers and consumers in the TV audience, is simply not high enough. A&E clearly hoped that with the passage of time, outrage would fade, the healing would begin and they and Dog could get back to making money. We should ensure that those hopes are dashed completely.

Here's the thing. If you listen to his recorded rant, Dog was quite the self-aware racist. He was crystal clear about the fact that his little tv career would be finished if word got out that he and his bounty hunter squad spent their time routinely calling black people niggers. He understood quite plainly that his career in tv would be finished. I think we ought to insure that his expectations are met.

Its simply not acceptable that media companies and the advertisers who support their programming have no sense of proportion or respect for the sensibilities of African American viewers. If we are to have respect in the media, it is abundantly clear that we must build and maintain the capability to inflict severe and lasting damage to the brand of any corporation or advertiser which supports media programming that intentionally and knowingly insults African Americans. If we are to enforce even a modicum of respect, this must become so.

In pursuit of that goal, in collaboration with other bloggers, the BrightLine wiki was formed. The BrightLine wiki was created to empower the African American community to enforce media respect. It is an archive that records clear and blatant racial offenses in the media and documents the program and advertisers associated with it. This information will be collected and disseminated to the African American community via blogs, black newspapers, black radio and person to person, so that the brands that support programs which disrespect African Americans can be exposed and held accountable. By establishing clear and well recognized bright lines for media companies and their advertisers which cannot be crossed without risk of serious and sustained damage to their brands, we hope to bring about a sustained improvement in the level of respect demonstrated towards African Americans by television, cable, radio and internet broadcast networks.

Also in furtherance of respect in media, the Afrosphere Action Coalition
in conjunction with ConsciousInk has sent a letter to A&E as well as many of its former advertisers of the show to express our disappointment with A&E’s and it’s advertisers decision to financially support the return of ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ to the airwaves after the public revelation of Chapman’s disdain for people of color. We are urging them and their advertisers not to reward racism with their financial support. Hopefully they will see the error of doing so.

Now they need to hear from all of you

Tell the programming executive’s at A&E and the companies that advertise with them that their support of someone with such demeaning views is unacceptable. Tell them that linking their brands to racism and disrespect of African Americans is a mistake that can only result in negative consequences for their brand and their bottomline.

A&E VPs of Programing
nancy.dubuc@aetn.com, rob.sharenow@aetn.com,

Travelocity Public Relations:
Vollmer Public Relations
Amanda Borichevsky
E-mail: amanda@vollmerpr.com

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