Actions Have Consequences, Shonda Rimes

November 9, 2008

Thoughts on What Actions to Take

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferoksana @ 8:07 pm

I am thinking about things, just because I can and because there are so many actions that can be taken, but I don’t know what’s effective and what is more noise than effective signal. Here are my thoughts with pros/cons on each, and which actions I think might be most useful.

1. Sending snail-mail letters to ABC
Pros: Physical proof of our displeasure
Cons: With the fate of Hahn pretty clear, this is not precisely a situation where a bunch of leaves can bring back the…disappeared. Smacks of goofy fan campaigns that have a low ability to work, and it’s even rarer for fan campaigns for particular actors/characters to come back.
Opinion: While a message noting that you’ve stopped watching (or will not be watching until after sweeps) and your demographic is better than nothing, I think these are futile.

2. Bitching out advertisers
Pros: When putting pressure on advertisers WORKS, it has some impressive results…
Cons: …but it doesn’t work all that often.
Opinion: Definitely more worthy than sending leaves to ABC as a tactic, but not necessarily a silver bullet. Think that one or two particular advertisers should be targeted, not all of them.

3. Going after GLAAD
Pros: This might actually have some effect, as GLAAD’s cover of Shonda’s actions has given Grey’s some immunity, which it shouldn’t have. Will be more likely to listen than ABC (“what? we have that gay guy on Ugly Betty!”) or advertisers.
Cons: GLAAD is not necessarily in the best place every on this.
Opinion: This is going to be one of the things we do. ABC may never do smack; GLAAD, on the other hand, may not fold, but they’ll definitely think four or five times before giving an ABC show blanket cover again.

4. Lots and lots of exposure of this nasty mess. (Letters to editors, writing editorials, articles, et cetera.)
Pros: The media has been almost universally of the opinion that Brooke Smith’s firing was indeed because she was playing a lesbian and is part of a tedious pattern of sweeps lesbians gone particularly wrong. They may not be screaming for blood, but nobody thinks it’s okay. Will
Cons: Will require more creative work than sending letters. Danger of crazy shipperness tainting things.
Opinion: This is another idea that I like better than sending sacks of leaves; what the media and we write is what shapes the narrative, and what shapes the narrative leaves Shonda Rimes with less cover. We may not get our lesbians back, but making clear that it’s Not Okay [TM] to go for either pregnant or dead lesbians, that you’re gonna get pushback is a good thing.

5. Clever media memes. The basic idea is a YouTube campaign of sorts. It’s a little complicated — basically, it’s a video’d version of ideas one and two, shared here on the website, with emails/messages sent toward the end of the month/early next month — and elsewhere. I’m explaining this badly. But the point is, there’s something more visceral about “you cannot has my money, ABC!” circulating around the interwebs — especially if they’re funny, sharp, and to the point — than more traditional fan campaigns. And we all know the power of YouTube…

6. Get some money together and take out an ad in Variety or the Hollywood Reporter.
Pro: Very visible to industry people
Con: Is the kind of thing that makes industry people not take fans seriously.
Opinion: I am personally not sold on it, but I’m convincible.

Also, currently working on a form letter. I have one for GLAAD, but there’s also at least one more — advertiser/media oriented — that I need to work up.



  1. As for the advertisers that should probably be targeted about this:

    Old Navy is one third of Gap Inc., that which is The Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. So, if you want to contact Old Navy about their advertising, your best bet is to go directly to Gap Inc. because in that manner you can contact someone from the upper ranks immediately. This is the telephone and address for Gap Inc.’s headquarters:

    Two Folsom Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (650) 952-4400

    Gap Inc. is big on supporting GLBT rights. During GLBT month they have posters within their stores for their employees that are all about GLBT rights. And also, this:

    Gap Inc. earned the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2007 “Best Places to Work for GLBT Equality” seal, which denotes America’s best companies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) workers. The seal is given to companies who score a perfect 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index which measures policies and practices implemented to promote fairness and equality in the workplace for GLBT employees. Gap was among 142 companies that achieved this honor. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the nation’s largest GLBT civil rights organization.

    You can also call Old Navy’s customer service department by dialing 1-800-653-6289 and waiting to speak with a customer service representative. You can also e-mail and title your e-mail as “Advertising Feedback.”

    Apple donated a very, very, very large sum of money to the No To Prop 8 campaign. They are probably an excellent company to contact about all of this, and you can read about it here:

    “No on Prop 8
    October 24, 2008
    Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.”

    Comment by Sandy — November 9, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  2. 2 & 3 seem the best to me. I’m still digging around trying to find advertiser email contacts (not an easy thing for some of these folks) .. but in digging around on websites, have found that some of these have “diversity” departments – e.g. 20th Century Fox ( – as such they might be either more willing to listen or more vulnerable to criticism, one. Going after GLAAD for sure, because holy cow, they didn’t just drop the ball, they flung it down with great force. I thought being on top of stuff like this and responding was their whole raison d’etre. I’m almost as mad at them as Rhimes (with an “h”, btw, fix the header on the blog). The youtube campaign sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I totally get it. I also think more people have the wherewithal to sign something or email or donate than make and upload a vid, but it would be cool to be proven wrong. Great job so far. Let me know if I can help with the wordpress thing; I sent you an email yesterday and I’ll be around for the next couple of hours.

    Comment by sighpress — November 9, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  3. Having dug through my bookmarks on Brookegate and looking at the information flow; I’d say organising campaigns of letters to Heigl’s and Knight’s managers (or PAs or whomever you send these things to so it doesn’t come off as stalkerish or creepy) could definitely be a course of action — I’m a little … irritated that their hasn’t been a statement from their side, actually.

    Comment by staubundsterne — November 10, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  4. Maybe Patrick Dempsey too, if that’s one of the courses of action. He was obviously displeased on Ellen. I wish she would’ve pushed the issue a little more.

    I like the YouTube vids idea, but I’m a little unsure of what it entails.

    Going after GLAAD, I’m with that, but I’m not sure what it achieves in relationship to ABC/Grey’s. We might make them think twice next time, but there unlikely to turn on Shonda/ABC/Grey’s on this matter.

    We need to get SOMEBODY on our side. EW and LA Times do seem rather sympathetic. Would we be able to get them on side, do you think. What about AfterEllen, or any famous gay/gay rights activists?

    Honestly, I like most of the ideas, but I get what you’re saying about the cons.

    Number 1 is already being carried out by fans elsewhere, so people can piggy-back on the back of that but have it not be something that this specific campaign focuses on. Although, sending protest letters can’t hurt.

    Is Number 6 really something that would make us not get taken seriously? The suggestion was brought up in the first place because it had results in the Buffy fandom.

    All I know is that we need exposure and attention, or we won’t achieve anything. I’m much more likely to trust you’re judgement on this than my own.

    Whatever it is, it’s imperative that we get started quickly. We won’t forget this quickly, but the general media will.

    Comment by Ali — November 10, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

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