I’ve had quite a response to my posts about GiggleTV, which is awesome. I’ve been thinking about what to do next. What’s ethical? What’s effective? What won’t cost me a huge amount of energy I don’t have? Here’s some plans.
I said in my last post that I was going to write to the Ministry of Health and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board. I’ve done this, but it is under the Official Information Act so I won’t get an answer for at least a couple weeks, probably three-four.
Yesterday’s Sideswipe column brought more interest to the issue, which was great. It must also have caught the attention of the GiggleTV directors, as I received an email from one of them. This is the same person who wrote this response to me last year. The contrast in tone is interesting.
“Hi Sarah, We would like to sincerely apologise for causing offence with our content. It was removed immediately. Please understand it is never our intention and we have taken your feedback with the utmost of seriousness. We are always looking to improve our content, and we are putting measures in place to prevent this from happening again. We are always open to your feedback and suggestions, and would welcome your call or email any time. My cell phone number is (removed) and my email is (removed). Again our most sincere apologies.”
I guess I have to give my apologies, because this isn’t enough for me.
I absolutely respect and admire that they have written to me, but (forgive me for being cynical, but I know how PR works) they are clearly responding now, and in this tone, because of the media coverage, and because they are concerned that whatever I do next might affect their business. I guess I understand that.
I also understand that removing only the content I have pointed out will make very little difference to their overall business model.
I have emailed back and asked exactly what the “measures” they speak of are, and which content has been removed.
In the meantime, I’ve been developing a letter that I, and others, could send to local businesses who have GiggleTV. (If you Google GiggleTV locations, it’ll give you a list of users in your area ie http://www.giggletv.co.nz/Nelson_Locations.html) (I’m actually quite devastated to see how many locations there are in Nelson). EDIT: There is a full list of locations here – http://web.archive.org/web/20150113023629/http://giggletv.co.nz/Advertise.html.
It will look something like this, with images attached to demonstrate.
Dear <business owner>
We’re aware that you have GiggleTV on your premises. While GTV might be a great way of advertising, many of their jokes are very upsetting to a wide range of people – including people who will be your customers.
Here’s some reasons why you could consider not using GiggleTV.
It is not G-rated
GiggleTV call their jokes “G-rated.” This is plainly not true. Many of their jokes are sexual and sexist. They are not appropriate for children, who will probably be exposed to them in your business.
It is discriminatory towards people with physical and mental illnesses
Many of GiggleTV’s jokes trade on making fun of people with physical or mental illnesses. They have content that humourises obesity, diabetes, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder. They have jokes that imply people are “crazy.” This is offensive to a huge cross-section of New Zealand – and probably many of your customers.
It is sexist
Many of GiggleTV’s jokes are sexist towards women. They often imply that women are stupid, annoying, and good for little more than sex and cleaning. This is totally unacceptable.
Questioning the content
Most of the jokes are taken from the internet and put over top of random stock images that, while probably not under copyright, are still unethical to use in this way.
It’s unclear whether the producers of the photos and videos that clearly come from private sources have been contacted about their content being used in this way, because no credit is given for anything anywhere.
The Ministry of Health has been contacted about GiggleTV.
Do you really want your business associated with this? It is worth considering that, while some of your customers might find these basic jokes funny, some of them may well be offended and very upset by them.
Thanks very much for your time.
I want to be clear about something here. While it may seem like it – it is not my intention to shut down GiggleTV. I have compassion for the people that are running it, I really do. I don’t want someone’s business to fold. What I want is jokes that are not offensive, sexist, and discriminatory. I understand that this means them rethinking a lot of their content. But this is important. I want to be able to go to my doctor’s office, and not be totally upset by something that makes fun of my disabilities. Surely that’s my right?
I don’t know whether I’ll go ahead with these letters in Nelson or not, because frankly, I’m not sure my health is up to it. I’m waiting on the response from MOH and the DHB.
Thanks to everyone who has offered support. It is very much appreciated.