GiggleTV – what’s next?

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.

Subject: GiggleTV 

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.

Yours sincerely

xx.

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.

19 Replies to “GiggleTV – what’s next?”

  1. Hayley

    I can’t seem to find who has GTV in Auckland- as I want to send the business owners in my area a copy of the letter as I TOTALLY agree and some make-nice-pr is almost insulting after the last response you had.

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    Sarah your words are cruel, and your actions are over the top and damaging. Don’t be a hater Sarah. Choose happiness, choose life, choose laughter.
    99.9% of the people you pass on the street “have something” – whether it’s an illness, or a disability, or are grieving for a loved one, or have had a relationship breakdown, or are being bullied at school, or can’t afford to feed their family. Everyone. Has. Something.
    It is not a competition to see who is suffering the most, who’s problem is worse, who is sicker…. instead we must all just get on and do the very best we can. And that includes, not making life difficult for others.
    What is so wrong with having a laugh? To share a bit of humour and fun, in an otherwise bleak world.
    Live, Love, Laugh Sarah. And maybe just calm down a little too.

    Reply
  3. Zeborah

    Sarah-the-commenter: And that includes, not making life difficult for others.

    Exactly. But GiggleTV is making life difficult for people who are forced to sit in waiting rooms in the presence of ‘jokes’ that belittle them at a time when they are especially vulnerable. Laughing may release endorphins, as GiggleTV proclaim, but having people laugh at you releases adrenaline which is not nearly so good for your health. GiggleTV need to to urgently bring their content in line with their stated goals.

    Reply
  4. writehandedgirl Post author

    @Sarah: I utterly fail to see how I am being cruel. And tossing inspirational quotes at me isn’t going to get anyone anywhere.

    Yes, you’re right – 99.9% of people you pass on the street are dealing with things – so why make it worse for them by poking fun at their vulnerabilities?
    I really, really abhor being told to “calm down.” I am completely calm. I have made a rational argument in which I have stated I’m not trying to tear down their business.

    The world isn’t bleak. This sort of low-brow, lazy humour is. And me standing up against it *is* me “choosing life and happiness.” Because I’m attempting to make my own life, and the live of others who suffer, better, in what small way I can.

    Reply
  5. Kumara Republic

    Sarah from comments section: We know exactly what makes people laugh. If anything’s cruel, it’s thinking that it’s funny to stamp on the downtrodden. Are some of your best friends Jewish or Muslim by chance?

    Reply
  6. Sarah[3]

    Sarah (comments) is right. The world [internet] these days does seem to be a big competition to see who’s suffering the most indignation. When did we all get so lame?
    If you weren’t trying to destroy their business you wouldn’t be encouraging people to send them letters, and calling in your *twits*.
    We all have to make our life surrounded by others and their *things*, most of us, however, can do it without trying to impose our will on the others. So what gives you the right to force your will on someone else? I see they’ve already had to change their website because of you, so now you’ve cost them. What next? are you going to harass their advertisers too?

    And as for you Kumara – ad hominem much?

    Reply
    1. writehandedgirl Post author

      I’ve specifically stated that’s not what I want to happen. I’m not forcing my will on anyone. I’m writing a blog. People can choose to get involved or not, businesses can choose to listen or not, GiggleTV can choose to see that they’re being offensive, or not. I really doubt I have enough power to shut them down, even if I wanted to. I’m just a blogger, after all.

      Reply
  7. Sarah[3]

    One more thought; given that comments here are moderated do you let dissenting opinion through because it illicits sympathy?

    Reply
  8. Kumara Republic

    Sarah [3]: The only will being imposed on others is the outdated prejudices of the powerful against the powerless. It’s called bullying.

    You see a company that’s been harassed into taking down a link; I see a company that’s memory-holeing embarrassing info that the Internet doesn’t forget.

    And the moment you used the word ‘twit’ has negated your complaint about ad-hominem. Do as you say, not as you do.

    Reply
  9. Sarah[3]

    A blogger that’s drafted a letter for a letter writing campaign, a blogger who has sent the message for support out through twitter and the herald. You’ve even OIA’d a health board. And you keep going after they remove the content you complained about and apologised.
    “I also understand that removing only the content I have pointed out will make very little difference to their overall business model.”
    What is wrong with their business model? Affordable advertising for small businesses interspersed with humour. Why would you have a problem with that?

    Reply
  10. Sarah[3]

    Kumera – What they are ‘memory holing’ is the locations of their screens, not the content of them. They’re just trying to protect their customers. And I don’t see any ‘power’ here, a small business is not powerful. Nor any way at all that a joke on a silent screen can be bullying – derogatory, yes but bullying? Really. Have we come to that?

    A twit is someone on twitter, not a twit – and not an ad hominem.

    Writehandedgirl – So they take all the ads you don’t like off , replace them with ones you approve of and it’s still a problem for you how?
    Ooh, maybe they’ll click your ‘hire me’ link and get you to write the jokes. Better still they could become “InspirationalTv” and have inclusive messages of affirmation.

    Reply
    1. writehandedgirl Post author

      I really don’t think it’s necessary to come onto my blog and attack me personally. You’re clearly totally missing the points I’m making, and that’s fine. So leave. I won’t be engaging with you further.

      Reply
  11. Pingback: Women do what? – The trouble with “girls” | Writehanded

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