Not so long ago, I called for pharma advertisers to boycott the Imus show over his infamous “nappy-headed ho” racial slur against young college athletes who never did him any harm (see “Glaxo, Pull Your Imus Ads!“). The next day, GSK and other advertisers did pull their ads.
Now another celebrity associated with the pharmaceutical industry has gone bad — Montel Williams.
Recall that Mr. Williams is the celebrity spokesperson for the pharmaceutical industry’s Partnership for Prescription Assistance’s “Orange Bus” PR campaign, which helps needy patients obtain free medicine (see video report here).
As reported by AP/MSNBC:
“Williams, a patient advocate since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, terminated [a] Friday interview with [Courtney Scott, a Savannah Morning News high school intern] after she asked him: ‘Do you think pharmaceutical companies would be discouraged from research and development if their profits were restricted?’
“Later, he confronted her and two other reporters after mistakenly believing they followed him to the Westin Savannah Harbor. But they were there to cover an unrelated assignment.
“Williams walked up to Scott and told her that ‘I can look you up, find where you live and blow you up,’ according to Joseph Cosey, a Web content producer for the newspaper.”
Another account added some more detail: “As we were preparing to film, Montel walked up with his bodyguard and got in Courtney Scott’s face pointing his finger telling her ‘Don’t look at me like that. Do you know who I am? I’m a big star, and I can look you up, find where you live and blow you up,” said Joseph Cosey, a Web content producer for the newspaper.
These days, when high school students around the nation must attend schools with “zero tolerance” policies regarding physical threats, celebrities — especially those paid by the pharmaceutical industry — should ALSO be subject to zero tolerance.
I call upon PhRMA, therefore, to immediately fire Mr. Williams!
What do you say?
|Should PhRMA Fire Montel?|
|Yes, because I support zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.|
|Yes, because he’s now a PR liability.|
|No, because he has apologized.|
|No, because it’s no big deal.|