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An Open Letter to Sears and Fed Ex
September 27, 2001
by John Larson

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With regards to recent events concerning negative publicity surrounding Bill Maher and some comments he may or may not have made, both Sears and Fed Ex have made it known that disapproval would be marked by pulling advertising from the show - perhaps more out of spite than possible disagreement.

This is of course highly questionable judgement, considering that the show does have a wide audience, enough to have been purchased from Comedy Central to be broadcast on ABC. However if that wasn't enough, doing so is likely to offend consumers who also watch the show in order to gather a viewpoint from different perspectives every night that it has been broadcast, especially when it has prompted ABC to consider removing the show from its lineup.

That's why I'll be calling for a boycott of both of your businesses. I may be one person but I also happen to be in contact either directly or indirectly with a multitude of people across the Internet.

You see, a boycott is a simple thing to do - just don't purchase anything that you provide. After all there are plenty of stores and delivery services out there that are competing for the very same dollars that you are.

And of course the competition has become a little more intense as of late. If the bombings recently haven't been enough to rattle the economy, the economy itself has been slowing down prior to this event taking place.

Wall Street hasn't seen times this bad since 1933. These aren't the most financially of secure times and pride can become an expensive luxury - one that often cannot be afforded by anyone, especially right now.

So what if someone's pride got hurt? This is the USA after all, and those who are easily offended by what they hear don't have to watch what's on TV if he or she doesn't want to, much less listen to any of it. I admit that I don't always agree or even like what people have to say on the program. But then again that's the very reason why I watch it and why I think everyone else should watch it too.

It isn't hard to argue, however, that those who are easily offended stay in business for very long. However there is the issue of Bill Maher's audience being offended by your actions, especially when the show itself could be cancelled as a result. The audience consists of many consumers who don't especially like the fact that private enterprise would infringe on their right to choose what they want to do in the privacy of their own homes.

These people would like nothing more or less than an apology to Bill Maher and just leave him and the networks alone to choose the programming that best suits their audience. That just isn't your job at all. In the meantime I'm sending this out to a few thousand of my closest friends, and that won't take long. Have a nice day.

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