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The Tea Party vs. 'the voice of GEICO'
GEICO fired the actor who helps voice their TV ads after he harrassed a Tea Party group. Is his dismissal a sound business move — or was the company bullied into it?
The gecko from GEICO's ad campaign
The gecko from GEICO's ad campaign
Geico
L

ance Baxter has been fired from his job as the "voice of GEICO" after he called Tea Partiers "retarded" in a voicemail message to the Tea Party group FreedomWorks. Baxter, also known as D.C. Douglas, is the actor who says "GEICO, real service, real savings" in GEICO's ads. After his recorded remarks were posted on biggovernment.com, along with his cellphone number, Douglas accused the Tea Party of launching a campaign against him: "Harass[ing] my employer to get me fired is an egregiously disproportionate response to my actions." Did the Tea Party bully GEICO into firing him — or was the company just taking appropriate action? (Below: Listen to a recording of Baxter's angry voicemail message)

So much for free speech, Tea Partiers: I thought the Tea Party was in favor of the constitution, says Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars. But after Baxter's criticisms they waged a "campaign of personal destruction" against him, circulating his cellphone number and encouraging people to call him and his employer. So Tea Partiers can exercise their first amendment rights, but not actors? "Chalk up yet another notch for incredible hypocrisy."
"Bullied GEICO fires voice-over announcer after he insults tea-baggers; FreedomWorks still harassing"

Baxter's message hurt GEICO's business: This isn't political, says Tabitha Hale at Red State. It's business. Baxter was "representing a company," and as a "recognizeable" brand ambassador, his actions were way out of line. "If the voice of your company is leaving nasty messages that target a large portion of the population," you have to act. "The bottom line is GEICO has a brand to protect."
"GEICO vs FreedomWorks"

GEICO did the same to Glenn Beck: GEICO is "not exactly in the Tea Party movement's pocket," says Frances Martel at Mediaite. Don't forget it was one of many companies to pull advertising from the FOX News show fronted by "Tea Party darling" Glenn Beck after he said President Obama's a "deep-seeded hatred of white people." Clearly they don't like being linked with anyone who damages their brand, no matter their political leaning.
"GEICO announcer fired for calling tea partiers 'retarded,' potential murderers"

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