FreedomWorks, GEICO and Tortious Interference
Written by D.C. Douglas, now former voice over for the Geico Gecko ads. (Outro and any intro. See “update”) From his blog
[UPDATE: Four things need clarifying. 1) Please DO NOT call GEICO. If you read the blog carefully, you’ll see I hold no animosity toward them, only FreedomWorks. 2) Some readers seem to miss the fact that I did apologize for my words. Please read carefully. 3) I was NOT the gecko or the main vo tag announcer. That was a conflation by Matt Kibbe. 4) Comments have been closed because the server can’t handle it, man. Please go here to enjoy a debate: HuffingtonPost Article. We now return you to your originally scheduled blog post.]
I never wanted to be political in this blog. It was supposed to be about my life in the biz. But my biz life and personal life were recently slammed together by a political bully group.
I hate bullies. Its a mentality that starts with children and doesnt evolve much more in quality or nuance through the adult years. Yes, this is going to be a huge blog post, kids. Get your Cheetos out.
FreedomWorks encouraged Tea Baggers to get me fired from GEICO because I left a complaint on their voice mail. (Press Release)
Oh yeah, Im serious. Read on
Me. An actor and voice over guy. Not famous (except in my mind). An American citizen. Impetuous. Likes long walks on the beach and nipple-twisting any idiots-in-power on occasion (but usually anonymously).
FreedomWorks. The conservative lobbying firm headed by the Ex-Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, which has been behind the Fox News sponsored tea bagging party movement that miraculously materialized the moment the Republican party lost the Presidential election on 11/4/08.
GEICO. A good insurance company owned by Warren Buffets Berkshire Hathaway that has hired me in the past.
Now, lets follow the drama, shall we? The following blog is my opinion of what happened.
December 2007: Ron Paul supporters attempted to rent a blimp with Google Ron Paul on the side. It would fly to Washington, DC and then on to Boston, where they would dump tea bags into the Boston Harbor in a symbolic protest against the big-spending ofwait for it Republicans! It failed due to lack of cash. But at least they knew their facts and where the blame should go.
February 2009: CNBCs Rick Santelli proposed a Chicago Tea Party because he was ticked-off that distressed homeowners would be getting loan modifications (hes all heart). Thus the new Angry bring your guns Tea Bagger Movement was stolen, er, born. And FreedomWorks Tom Gaithens helped organize the astroturf events. Since then, FreedomWorks has been the engine of the Tea Party, though they deny it regardless of the facts.
Summer 2009: Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe aimed their angry mob at Health Care Reform.
Scene One: The Chaos
Prologue: The Rise of Facts Averse Tea Baggers
During the Health Care vote last month I was so upset by the slurs the Tea Party crowd angrily yelled at Barney Frank, et al, that I called FreedomWorks. (The last time I felt so compelled was when I saw Fred Phelps protesting an Iraqi soldiers funeral with a Thank God for IEDs sign.)
During my impulsive call I:
- inquired as to their intelligence level
- wondered if they had a plan on how to spin the eventual news of one of their members turning violent and killing someone.
- left my phone number because I wanted someone to call me back and defend their Tea Party actions,
(The recording of my voicemail message can be heard in a special music video at the end of this blog.)
Yeah, I know STUPID! And certainly not constructive. But venting calmly with a twist of humor soothes my liberal soul. Plus, homophobia and racism are my Achilles heal. Unfortunately, in my haste, I used the phrase mentally retarded which, ultimately, drags me down to their level.
My first question was an unfortunate choice of words and I regret it. But my second question was the more pertinent one: How will they spin it when one of their members crosses the line and does something violent?
Now, my calling them, my choice of words, and leaving my number were all mistakes, and I accept responsibility for them. But what happened next was way beyond an appropriate response. It was downright sleazy, unethical and most likely illegal.
Scene Two: Matt Kibbe Gets His Freak On
A week after the Health Care Reform bill passed, FreedomWorks errand boy Adam Brandon called me to verify my identity. I had already calmed down and couldnt care less about debating their negative and insidious tactics.
Unbeknownst to me, Adam was recording the conversation (an illegal act depending upon which state he was calling from).
Then FreedomWorks researched my career.
Unfortunately, GEICO has been on their boycott list for pulling their ads from the Glenn Beck Im inciting sedition all the way to the bank show last year. FreedomWorks discovered my connection with GEICO: I had been the announcer on their Celebrity campaign in 2007 and 2008. But they didnt do anything for a few weeks
Scene Three: When Teabaggers Attack
Then I posted on my FaceBook fan page that I had just recorded a new Shocking News campaign for GEICO.
The very next morning, Matt Kibbe (the president of FreedomWorks, not his errand boy) submitted a post to the conservative hate-blog-ring:
- deliberately conflating me with the voice of GEICO
- publishing my private voicemail message (an invasion of privacy)
- publishing the (possibly illegal) recording of their follow-up call
- included a badly photoshopped picture of the gecko (seriously, their photoshop guy sucks.)
- published my home phone number
- published GEICOs business line
- instructed readers to harass me and GEICO
Yup. You read that right, folks. This Christian American group published my home phone number and issued these glib instructions:
Feel free to contact Lance. He was so kind to provide his number in the voicemail. Call his employer too Let them know that you, in fact, are not a mentally retarded killer, but that you are now in the market for car insurance.
I was inundated with calls and hang-ups. But they died after a day. GEICO may have received twice as much, but again, they died after a day.
However, GEICO made a quick corporate decision to drop me from the campaign ten hours after Matt Kibbes blog post appeared. Obviously not because of the magnitude of Matt Kibbes self-serving revenge campaign, as it was just a tempest in a teapot (pun intended), but because of the fear that has become synonymous with the Tea Bagger Party: The potential for the wackos of the party to get very loud and dangerous.
Finale: Washing Matt Kibbes Soul Out With Soap
I did not post my views in a large public forum. I did not publicly campaign against them. I left a calm (albeit impulsive) phone message ONCE. FreedomWorks responded with napalm.
Its akin to me getting any one of the unblocked phone callers who harassed me fired from their jobs. I could try to do it, but an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. Oh, and its kind of illegal Tortious Interference, invasion of privacy and harassment. (If there are any lawyers out there whod like to take this on pro bono, come and get it.)
Of course, Matt Kibbe could care less who I am. He just had a hard-on for the lizard and was more than happy to throw a stranger under the bus merely for some possible press Yes, actions of an unethical opportunist. And of a writer bereft of any positive blog post ideas.
Mind you, I dont blame GEICO. They shouldnt have to take on an angry mob over an anonymous voice over guy. Besides, I do just fine outside of my GEICO campaigns. I also know that there are other big corporations out there that arent intimidated by the Tea Party Telemarketers and Ill be on another national campaign soonunless, of course, FreedomWorks decides to start a Hollywood blacklist.
Study Guide: FreedomWorks As Anger Machine
So how does FreedomWorks achieve lower taxes, less government and more freedom by getting me dropped from a GEICO campaign? They dont. Its simply the politics of destruction.
Matt Kibbe, DickArmey and FreedomWorks are just using their followers as attack dogs in their beltway battles. They are an anger machine hellbent on undermining the administration if the administration happens to be Democratic. They, like Glenn Beck, are flirting heavily with sedition.
Remember, this is the same group that passed out a handbook to members on how to disrupt town hall meetings on Health Care, essentially derailing democratic discourse. This Tea Party mentality culminated in aHealth Care Reform weekend marked by:
- Barney Frank being called a f****t.
- Rep. John Lewis being referred to as a n****r.
- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver being spat upon.
- A weekend that saw Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita vandalized.
- Rep. Tom Perriellos home gas line to a propane tank being cut (his home address had been posted on a Tea Baggers FaceBook page).
- Death threats sent to Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Patty Murray.
- Me calling FreedomWorks and tweaking their nipple.
A Dedication: Matt Kibbe Can Kiss My Pimply Ass
In the past few days, I have been advised to just let it all happen to me not to respond because these guys cannot be reasoned with they only know anger, hatred and destruction. I also hear folks in the media say we should just ignore them and theyll go away.
But heres the rub: a portion of those members do have legitimate complaints and should be heard. (Hell, even Im for abolishing income tax and going with a progressive VAT.) Thesepeople shouldnt be ignoredthough I would argue they should find a better organization to represent them. Or at least speak up and object to their groups radical majority.
Unfortunately, the radical majority is provoked to racial paranoia and mob mentality by unethical Washingtonian operatives like Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe. If we do not confront these kinds of groups,we risk letting a hate movement gain a dangerous level of influence in our country.
theres this vast echo chamber, and [these provocative words] go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike – President Bill Clinton (April, 2010)
Personally, I have no tolerance for intolerance Which is why I invite Matt Kibbe to kiss my pimply ass.
Coming Soon: Dick Armeys Army of Dicks
Dick Armey illustrates how big his tea bags are.
To celebrate my LOVE of ALL ethnicities, sexualities, genders; my belief in a womans right to choose, a gay/lesbian/transgender couples right to marry, an Atheists right to seek office; an impetuous actor/voice over guys right to leave a voicemail message I give you my Tea Bagger Boogie Video, constructed from FreedomWorks followers who left me voice mails (though I will not identify anyone nor list their phone numbers that would be kinda sleazy and illegal.)
Note: there is more after this post. Please click here and then scroll.