back to article Comcast 'Tweetgate' apology thrown back in face

In a corporate cock-up with more angles than an anorexic runway model, Comcast has splattered mud on itself in its attempt to silence a critic, and that critic's organization has cast itself as a holier-than-thou prig. We'll boil down the background to this tangled tale of ego and incompetence into seven simple steps: In …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Bit of a false equivalence. Comcast needs to put down the Stalin before anyone picks up the Shaw.

  2. speco

    give it to me

    I would be knee-deep with hookers, whiskey and reefer within 2 minutes of getting that 18 grand. I would be employing about 4 or 5 hookers and definitely lending a hand to my neighborhood liquor store. I' d be the catalyst to get this economy going again. Plus I'd never have a bad thing to say to anyone - trust me I can keep my mouth shut

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      But, but ..

      "I can keep my mouth shut" means you would not get full value from your hookers, and it's crap boozing through a straw..

      OK, OK, I'm going.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cannot accept donation once strings are exposed

    I really don't see how anyone could accept a donation from Comcast under these conditions. The attached strings are now fully exposed. The money could be withdrawn at any point before it was actually deposited. Future quid pro quo regarding distribution of the group's films might be implied. Comcast is not the only contributor. Calling a person who has demonstrated both ethical behavior and knowledge of realpolitik a "prig, only displays the writer's own questionable morality.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      There were no strings, only expectations

      Now I re-read that title it sounds like a line in a pr0n movie, but I digress :-).

      You only have strings if there is some sort of agreement - even verbal, but I don't think that was the case. Rather, some idiot at Comcast thought they had some leverage (and excuse me, was that message really that bad? Sjeez).

      At that point it went rapidly downhill like it always does..

      1. Marvin the Martian

        Go talk to the LSE.

        They'll be able to enlighten you how accepting money from Libya without strings still blows up in your face.

        It's obviously nonsense that once received, it turns into ordinary money; same as donations from drugs money wpuldn't.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Good for them rejecting the offer

    With all this publicity, they'll probably take in twice the donations from sympathetic readers. Plus they sent a clear message to Comcast that their "ain't their be-ach".

  5. rahul

    Principles count for something...

    ... and principles can be confused for ego only by someone who has no appreciation for principles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That cuts both ways

      Comcast should not have reoffered the grant either.

      If you make a decision like this you better stick to it because trying to fix it by waving the white flag of compromise will inevitably result in an even bigger mudsplash.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The word "empower" is so 1980's.

    So is the word "grrl".

    So is Seattle.

    1. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm


      "...So is the word "grrl"...."

      True, but 'Reel' is quite a clever pun, though, in the context of teaching Grrls film making.

      But then, I thought 'Anti-Pesto' was funny, so who am I to judge?

      Ah, a pint of Bishop's Finger to go with my Stinking Bishop.

  7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Unfortunately, Shaw was wrong... he was wrong about so many other things. For instance, he greatly approved of Stalin...

    If you accept money from any source, you will come to depend on it. And gradually, you will mould your thinking into thoughts which do not rock the boat of your provider. We have seen this countless times - it's called 'going native'.

    If Comcast or any other corporate body want to provide charitable donations they are quite at liberty to do it anonymously. Indeed, that is the only true way to give a 'no strings attached' gift....

    1. Tom 13

      Actually, no, no, and no.

      I've been involved with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. You can take money and/or other donations from corporate types and not be moulded into their line of thinking. In fact, our organization rather depended on walking that line. We needed their permission to show things and wanted their guests. At least while I was there we did a good job of keeping our goals intact and even slapped the industry upside the head when they tried to do the 800 pound gorilla on us. True the organization did a lot of nonsensical flag waving about putting in place a policy of not accepting cash donations from the industry whose permissions and product we needed, but realistically the money would have been less of a leash than not granting permissions to show their films or send the people involved in creating them to be our guests.

      If you get money or donations, as a 501(c)3 you are required to report the amounts and your records are public. Most corporations give the donations for the tax write-offs, and that requires record keeping as well. Things can be done at arms length.

      Frankly, Comcast would have been better off never sending money to Grrls in the first place. With a name like that and all the code words in their purpose statement they aren't going to help Comcast or the film industry anyway.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I also fully support Teresa Mozur and Reel Grrls on their decision.

    It's just a shame more people don't stand up and tell these corporations that donating to charity is precisely that and nothing more. It isn't hush money, a PR stunt and it certainly isn't something to assuage a guilty conscience.

    “On the first point the reply of the Army itself was prompt and conclusive. As one of its officers said, they would take money from the devil himself and be only too glad to get it out of his hands and into God's”

    Would the author condone charities taking money from Columbian drug lords or maybe Al. Qaeda?

    This charity helps women get some self respect so leading by example is a good idea. Integrity does count for something you know.

  9. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    In proportion

    Comcast buys NBCUniversal for $6,500,000,000.

    Their stake in ReelGrrls is - was - $18,000.

    I'm unclear on how much good can be done with that much money, given the cost of film making which is what they do - I assume that Comcast isn't sole sponsor - but apparently one NBCUniversal is worth 300,000 ReelGrrls to them. Ms. Baker presumably is collecting, what, a dozen ReelGrrls herself? Or a hundred? It's a full time job and traditionally paid in pieces of silver. A classy lady like that doesn't come cheap.

  10. furtherstill

    None of those

    "It isn't hush money, a PR stunt and it certainly isn't something to assuage a guilty conscience." - Of course not. It's a tax deduction.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    You will have to pass this Voight-Kampff test first...

    People doing the revolving-door thing are not covering themselves in glory?

    Luckily they generally don't care as they most likely belong to the set of specially deficient people who can crush adorable puppies with a steamroller while plotting about obtaining a new Ferrari at the peons' expense.

  12. Heff

    you're not seeing the bigger picture

    Telling comcast to go fuck itself is probably worth more than 18 grand in free press.

    case in point : this story. its good to see an 'empowerment' charity (really now?) that actually has principals and can use this as an education opportunity. with a bit of luck they can spin this a little harder and get some talking head time.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right in my Book

    So Comcast came back and said, "Let's pretend this never happened. Our VP doesn't even speak for us really, we never attempted any kind of intimidation."

    Is it really vain or irresponsible to say, "No, it isn't going to work that way."

    The key words here were, "... ensure that this situation does not arise again." - Tereza Mozur

    Imagine two worlds. In one, every recipient of donations from large companies takes Reel Grrls attitude. In the other, none does. You have to pick one to live in. Tereza Mozur and her colleagues have made their choice, and I like to think I would make the same one.

    Of course anyone can reply that this is unrealistic idealism, that corruption is just a part of life that everyone has to accept. That is basically an argument against any type of positive change, as if no such thing has happened before.

    1. Tom 13

      I'll take the world in which none does.

      The other will be filled with self-righteous egotistical twits who are always stabbing everyone else in the back.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yay for Comcast

    What a shame that taking a stand on a very basic principle is treated as somehow quaint or merely self-serving. You are not just taking money from the Devil to give to God you are aiding the Devil by justifying him.

    I've heard enough rationalizations over my corporate life for why you should just shut up and keep the cash flowing. I'm glad someone out there is prepared to take a hit in order to stand for something with a bit more substance.

  15. davenewman

    Need an assumption of corruption bill

    Make everyone who moves from a regulator to a company benefit from it have to go to jail until they have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have not acted corruptly.

    Better still, since both money and power corrupt, assume every rich or powerful person is corrupt.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    "his belief that his company's contribution – ostensibly given to support a good cause – should also buy only positive comments from those it supported"

    you cant buy good publicity, you have to earn it....

  17. MonkeyBot
    Thumb Down

    Article's conclusion is bollocks

    "Kipp and Mozur both embarrassed themselves: he for his belief that his company's contribution – ostensibly given to support a good cause – should also buy only positive comments from those it supported, and she for not realizing that Comcast's money, once transferred to her organization, was transformed into untainted fuel for the good works she claims as Reel Grrls' mission."

    Comcast's money was not "untainted". As soon as Reel Grrls said something that Comcast didn't like, they took back their money and Reel Grrls cannot bank on there being a major public outcry to protect them the next time Comcast start sulking.

    If they allow themselves to come to rely on that funding, they're fucked if Comcast decide to throw a wobbly again. Once they've done that the first time, you've got to walk away or anyone who funds you will think they can do the same.

  18. CanadianISP

    Disagree with this articles' author

    I have to add my voice to disagreeing with the author of this article, too: I think it took guts from Reel Grrls to turn down the money, along with sending a message: Not only to Comcast and the world, but to the young ladies they're out to protect: Freedom of speech does not get 'edited' with corporate money. Good on them for their stance - before and after the Comcast apology.

    -Marc Bissonnette

    Ontario, Canada

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Kipp and Mozur both embarrassed themselves: he for his belief that his company's contribution – ostensibly given to support a good cause – should also buy only positive comments from those it supported, and she for not realizing that Comcast's money, once transferred to her organization, was transformed into untainted fuel for the good works she claims as Reel Grrls' mission"

    So you're saying that any money should be taken if it's for a good cause? So if a pimp/dealer offers £10 for funding Wh*res/Addicts Anonymous, it's always appropriate?

    Ever heard of something called "deontology" and "principles"? Sometimes, any money is not just money.

    Sounds like the author of the article is a bit venal to me, he/she should take a job as a Swiss banker.

  20. SDoradus

    Money stinks

    There's an old French saying to the effect that money has no smell. Not true any more.

    Reel Grrls didn't sound spiteful declining the offer. Teresa Mozur noted in her statement that "We appreciate Comcast’s desire to rectify this situation ... and hope to encourage them to craft a corporate policy that clearly defends freedom of expression in order to ensure that this situation does not arise again,"

    PS I've seen "grrl" used in a modern video game (Mass Effect 2). Set a century or so from now, too. If it's '80s, some people never noticed.

  21. James Woods

    upon looking at the tweeters

    I may have commented once on this but I don't see it so perhaps I didn't.

    Upon looking at the organization for which comcast threatened to pull funding for im more upset that the funding existed at all.

    It's nothing more than a special interest group for the gays.

    Nothing like charging subscribers $7/month for a modem rental and giving money to special interest.

    Why not take the special interest money and cut your fees.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Know your place

    A big company gave them a little more than I give to charities in a year. They called into question, no actual insult, a bad policy decision, and the big guys pull funding. Now a Reg hack says that "both sides were wrong". No, one side was a jerk, one side said "You guys are jerks, and we don't need to be beholden to you". But seems that after pissing off Apple, the Reg is going to bow down to big companies too. I know, it's a business, you can't get ahead if you don't kowtow to big players. It just shows to me that the Reg will slant more towards the big players, and I can't trust any opinion written here.

  23. vlc

    Read it carefully...

    I know it wasn't meant that way...but Comcast was a bit too quick to pull the trigger... the message could have been meant as praise.... "OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!?" [Well done for hiring someone that knows the ropes!]

    In any case...

    The charity should have accepted the money, said thank-you and just continued with the commentaries.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too little information

    This analysis is flawed because the author presumes to have all the facts. The analysis fits the 'facts' as presumed but the the author does not disclose whether or not the presumed facts are all the facts.

    It looks a bit high and mighty for the not-for-profit to reject the 18K but not if, as a result of the publicity, some other benefactor has stepped in. No comment is made either way.

    The article seems to presume that strings were attached to the money tacitly or not. If there were no explicit, contactual strings it's only in the minds of the not-for-profit staff and the mind of you, the reader of the article, whether or not there were implicit strings. Presumably there were no contractual strings and it seems the not-for-profit took the view there were no implied strings either. You are entitled to take a different view but that doesn't mean it's correct.

  25. Aggellos

    Regs is going fleet street ( aye fleet street crica 1899)

    Principles make you a prig do they maybe the Reg editorial needs a revamp to put it politely. The reason you can publish articles about what you want and how you like is because people where once prigs who stood up for their principles of free speech.

    Refusing the cash was the right option, but here at the Reg it’s seems hard currency matters more maybe you guys should look to see if any lobby groups are looking for an internet mouth piece as you would fit the bill quite nicely .

    Another nail in the Reg’s reason not to read coffin, thanks guys

  26. steve 124


    So, I wonder if anyone is looking closer at "commissioner" Baker's book to see if any more than a cushy job bribe was involved in the pushing through of the merger?

    Hmm, guess they probably aren't since many of the people who would be in charge of regulations have come from the corporations they regulate. Good for the non-profit to deny CommieCast their PR stunt. It's a shame they won't get the money, but at least Comcast didn't get to save face.

  27. Geri Stengel

    founder, Ventureneer

    Since Reel Grrls is about freedom of expression, taking a stand about freedom of expression is the right thing to do. Yes, much money that comes to nonprofits did, as Shaw noted, come from questionable sources and, yes, the money is useful no matter where it comes from. But demonstrating your mission is more important.

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