Comcast Pulls Non-Profit Funding Over A Tweet – Then Apologizes

If you’ve been watching the US media news lately, you’ve no doubt heard about the pretty shameless jump that the former FCC Commissioner, Meredith Baker, will be making to Comcast, only four months after approving its $13.5 billion merger with NBC. It’s been all over social and traditional media, and it looks like Comcast would (quite obviously) like everyone to stop talking about it: an exec from the company apparently pulled funding from one of Comcast’s non-profit partners due to a tweet they made criticizing Baker’s jump.

While the larger headache for Comcast is all of the negative attention it’s getting for the deal it made with Baker, this smaller – but still powerful – story isn’t likely to go away any time soon.

On May 12th, Reel Grrls (@reelgrrls), a film camp for teen girls, tweeted the following:

“OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? #mediajustice”

Sometime between the 12th and the 18th, Comcast’s vice president of communication Steve Kipp sent an angry email to Real Grrls chastising them for the tweet and explaining that Comcast would be pulling its funding as a direct result of their criticism.

As Politico reports, Kipp specifically said:

“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.”

But Reel Grrls wouldn’t take this sitting down.

They brought the story to the media, apparently not looking for Comcast to reinstate the funding but just to make the company rethink its stance towards criticism. And it looks like it worked: Comcast has backed away from Kipp’s statement, saying that it was not authorized by the company, and that Reel Grrls would not have its funding revoked.

From Politico:

“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.”

And to think, all of this embarrassment started with a tweet (oh, and the pretty blatant revolving door between government officials and corporate America, too).