Verizon DSL
Dishes Fathers


This letter to Glenn Sacks, one of our columnists, was written by a Texas grandma named Betty Barker. Betty writes:

I want to call your attention to a new commercial (The Elliotts) for Verizon DSL. They have a little girl of about eight working at a computer. Her dad is looking over her shoulder, looking slightly amazed. He says something silly like, 'That's like an encyclopedia thing.' The child says, 'It IS an encyclopedia' and in a look which could kill, looks at her mother as if to say 'get this idiot out of here.'

The mother is standing in the doorway and tells the father to go wash the dog. He says he’s helping his daughter with her homework and stays. The mother snaps "Leave her alone!" and, when he again hesitates, she yells at him. The father is humiliated and walks away looking like a whipped puppy.

It really made me furious when I saw it. I called Verizon Corporate offices and asked for Ms. Jerri DeVard, who is the VP in charge of marketing. Her secretary was a bulldog and finally gave me to Melinda Johnson who is in Executive Customer services.

I asked her if she thought Verizon would ever make the same commercial with the roles reversed and she said that she was quite sure that they would not. She told me that they had not received a public outcry over the ad. I assured her that there would be...


Betty Barker

Glenn writes: "Well, grandma I can’t turn down an offer like that, and yes, you are right, Verizon will very shortly be acquainted with us.

Now I don’t think Verizon means any harm--I'm sure they’re decent people but they've developed the moral blind spot I've talked about many times on this show--the moral blind spot towards disparaging males.

A mountain of research shows how indispensable fathers are to their children's well-being--not just their income, but their presence, their fathering--not their mothering, their fathering. It is tremendously damaging to convince a boy or girl that his or her father is an idiot or that fathers are worthless.

I have a daughter around the age of the girl in the commercial and I dispute the idea--the idea!--that because I'm male my love for my daughter and my son is somehow cheaper, lesser, not as good, not up to par, not as important. I'm angered over the way fathers have been vilified over the past three decades.

I dispute the idea that my father, and the fathers of his generation, who worked so hard to support their families and take care of their children, I dispute the idea that they are somehow lesser, that it's OK to dismiss our fathers, denigrate our fathers, disregard our fathers, disrespect our fathers.

I call this Verizon ad the 'Leave Her Alone!' commercial. I want all of you to write and call Verizon and tell them you want them to withdraw the 'Leave Her Alone!' commercial. I want you to bombard them with protests. Be polite, but let them know exactly how you feel.

All the information on how to email and call Verizon is below. Thank you for your support and activism."

Glenn Sacks


Our Letter to Ivan G. Seidenberg, President and CEO and Mary Beth Bardin, Executive VP Public Affairs and Communication

This letter concerns Verizon's anti-father 'Leave her alone!' commercial. In the commercial a father is trying to help his young daughter with her homework when he is belittled and scolded by his wife, who orders him to 'leave her alone!' I would be amazed if your marketing department would have accepted the advertising agency's story-board if they had reversed the roles of the mother and father, and changed the girl to a boy. This is obviously not the case for this commercial. I also don't understand how putting down a major part of your target market, especially for DSL services, which I would suspect is more male driven than female driven, fits Verizon's objective. I further believe that such anti-father messages are harmful to our sons and daughters, and I respectfully request that you withdraw this commercial immediately.

Gordon Clay

Related Topics:  Verizon ResponsesTake Action, Sample email or letter, E-mail list, Verizon contacts Verizon Gives Money to Men Stopping Violence Program

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