Wayne Aiken July 30, 1991 PO Box 30904 Raleig
Wayne Aiken July 30, 1991
PO Box 30904
Raleigh, NC 27622
Chrm. James Near
PO Box 256
Dublin, OH 43017
Dear Mr. Near:
It has come to my attention that your company has stopped sponsoring the
NBC show "Saturday Night Live!" as a result of threats by Rev. Donald
Wildmon and the American Family Association..
I am very disappointed that you have allowed yourself to be influenced
by this small but vocal band of self-righteous censors. I can understand
your position however; they are capable of generating large numbers of
letters and phone calls, and it is a credit to your company that you are
sensitive to public opinion.
The American Family Association, however, is definitely not representative
of the values and opinions of the vast majority of our society. They are
at best a vanishingly small minority, who have resorted to concentrating
mail and phone campaigns to a few "target" companies each month. In this
manner, they presume to speak for the larger population in order to censor
any idea in the media that doesn't fit their narrow religious beliefs.
Unfortunately, this tactic is often successful. Given the apathy of most
people in this society, the voices of the minority extremists are all too
often the only ones that are heard.
As a company, you actually stand to lose far more by caving in to their
empty threats than by simply ignoring them. The customers you lose simply
by failing to sponsor popular albeit controversial shows like "Saturday
Night Live!" will far exceed any possible loss of revenue resulting from
a boycott by this small group. I can understand and respect any groups
right to boycott those business with whom they disagree, but this group is
far more insidious. They fully intend to censor the culture of the entire
nation by actively hurting sources of ideas with whom they disagree, and
by your decision to withdraw sponsorship, you have been manipulated into
helping them force their religious ideology upon an unwilling public.
I urge you to reconsider your decision, both from a practical business
standpoint and as a participant in the free marketplace of ideas. Small
but vocal extremist minorities, particularly right-wing fundamentalist
religious groups, are a threat to this society, but only because other
people fail to speak out. They do not speak for me, nor for the larger
numbers of people who enjoy such shows and patronize your restaurants.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank