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Disney Strikes Back at Children’s Advocacy Group with Local Ties

March 11, 2010

Local children’s advocacy group, Stop Targeting Our Kids (STOK), a coalition that operates in solidarity with the national Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC), is deeply concerned that the Disney Corporation has orchestrated CCFC’s ouster from offices it has used for ten years at Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC), a Harvard-affiliated children’s mental health center in Boston.

“The Campaign for A Commercial Free Childhood has led the charge against corporations and marketers who place profit ahead of the health and well being of children, families and schools,” says Grand Rapids mom, early childhood advocate and STOK member, Mindy Holohan. “The large membership and targeted activism of the CCFC have given a potent voice to the concerns of a growing body of parents, educators, faith-based leaders and physical and mental health practitioners who provide daily witness to the unhealthy impact of commercialization on the lives of children.”

According to the CCFC, “JBCC severed our affiliation at a time when our work on behalf of children and families was being heralded worldwide. As described in this week’s New York Times, last fall’s successful campaign to get Disney to offer refunds on Baby Einstein videos came at a price.  At the height of the media flurry about the refunds, representatives from Disney contacted JBCC, and our relationship with the Center was changed irrevocably. We were pressured to stop talking to the press about Baby Einstein . . . And, for our remaining time under JBCC’s auspices, we were forbidden from conducting any advocacy aimed at a specific corporation or product . . . It is chilling that any corporation, particularly one marketing itself as family friendly, would lean on a children’s mental health center.”

CCFC’s move to new offices was unexpected and expensive. However, the organization is committed to continue advocating for children, even if that means tangling with the big corporations who are willing to ignore children’s mental, emotional and physical well being in the name of profit.  Companies like Disney, Nickelodeon, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Scholastic would love to see the CCFC go away.  But, the CCFC is more determined than ever to continue advocating for children nationally, as is STOK, right here in West Michigan.

Holohan concluded, “The CCFC’s major successes in holding the Disney Corporation accountable for false claims surrounding the educational benefits of Baby Einstein products and their significant role in the dismantling of BusRadio, a for-profit company that generated revenue from advertising directed specifically at children as they rode buses to and from school, has made the CCFC a more substantial and visible threat to those who invest millions toward the singular goal of targeting children for profit.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 4:14 pm

    i think that it is horrible that large corporations and marketers are placing profit ahead of the health and well being of children, families and schools,”

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