The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) was the group responsible for pressuring Disney into offering refunds on Baby Einstein DVDs last October. Now the CCFC says Disney threatened the mental health center where the group had offices, and consequently the center booted them out in January.
The New York Times says that just a few days after the refund story broke last October, officials at the Harvard-affiliated Judge Baker Children’s Center contacted officials at the CCFC and said they weren’t happy about the way the group had pressured Disney over the DVDs.
Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, the psychiatrist who directs the Media Center at the Judge Baker center and oversaw the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and Susan Linn, the campaign’s director, said center officials had told them that Disney contacted them three times.
“The Judge Baker staff informed us they didn’t want us to talk to the press, or to say anything about Baby Einstein,” Dr. Poussaint said. “They suggested to me that Disney was threatening to sue Judge Baker.”
Barely two weeks after the story of the refunds appeared, Dr. Poussaint said, he and Dr. Linn were called before the Baker center’s executive board.
“I asked the lawyer who had talked to Disney, point-blank, whether Disney had threatened to sue, and he said no,” Dr. Poussaint said. “But I still don’t know the content of the conversations with Disney.”
In January, center officials told the CCFC to get out by the end of February. The group had kept offices there for more than a decade.
The eviction is weird not just because of the unspecified Disney complaints back in October, but because there doesn’t appear to be any other sort of dispute or controversy that may have caused it. Even after the eviction order, the Judge Baker center and the CCFC were jointly planning a gala to be held in March, where one of the CCFC’s officials was to be the honoree. (The CCFC honoree withdrew from the gala in early February, and the event was canceled.)
A letter from the Judge Baker center said the CCFC’s methods were out of line with its mission, but that the center never accepted any money from or made any promises to Disney.
“After Victory Over Disney, Group Loses Its Lease” [New York Times] (Thanks to Adam!)