Help the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Continue to Make Powerful Businesses Accountable

March 10, 2010

A Message from Susan Linn and Josh Golin of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC).

After ten incredibly successful years, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has been forced to leave Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC), a Harvard-affiliated children’s mental health center in Boston.  CCFC now has a wonderful new home at Third Sector New England, an organization devoted to promoting a more just and democratic society.   

We’re pleased to have landed in such a great place. But we feel that it is important for you to know why JBCC severed our affiliation at a time when our work on behalf of children and families was being heralded worldwide.  

As described in today’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.  Questions were raised about whether CCFC’s mission was appropriate for a JBCC program.  Finally, in January, we were told that we had to leave – quickly.  And, for our remaining time under JBCC’s auspices, we were forbidden from conducting any advocacy aimed at a specific corporation or product.  You may have noticed that you haven’t heard from us in a while.

It is chilling that any corporation, particularly one marketing itself as family friendly, would lean on a children’s mental health center.  We have great admiration for the Center’s staff, and the work they do for children.  At the same time, we are deeply saddened that the institution ceded its ground and stopped supporting CCFC and our efforts to challenge powerful interests in order to protect children and support parents.  

The sudden loss of the home where we flourished was a tremendous blow.  Our move was unexpected and expensive.  We know that Disney – and Nickelodeon, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Scholastic and all of the companies whose profits are threatened when we stand up for children – would love to see CCFC go away.  But we are more determined than ever to continue our important work.  Here’s what you can do to help:

The outpouring of support has already been amazing. An anonymous donor has pledged an extra $10,000 if we can raise $40,000 in the next few weeks.  We’re already halfway there.  Your tax-deductible donation will ensure that the voices of people like you, who care about children more than the bottom line, will continue to be heard.    

Thanks for all you do for children,

Susan Linn Josh Golin
Director, CCFC Associate Director, CCFC