Life

Slim Fast ‘Sheds’ Whoopi

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The makers of Slim-Fast diet products have fired Whoopi Goldberg as their pitchman after the comedienne made fun of George W. Bush at a Democratic fund raiser. Apparently, during her performance, she used the president’s last name as a sexual reference.

“We are disappointed by the manner in which Ms. Goldberg chose to express herself and sincerely regret that her recent remarks offended some of our consumers. Ads featuring Ms. Goldberg will no longer be on the air,” Slim-Fast general manager Terry Olson said in a press release Wednesday.

Reaction to the decision of the company, which is based in Florida, pretty much run along party lines.

(Did you notice the mention of Florida? Where the company is located is being reported, but has no more to do with anything than the fact that neither John Kerry nor John Edwards, who both attended the fundraiser where the performance occurred, made any statements about what Whoopi said. The company could have made the same decision if it was based anywhere. Kerry and Edwards need not defend themselves against comments made during a standup routine at a fundraiser. These are non-facts.)

Bush supporters have been blogging about how wrong it was of her to be disrespectful to the President. A few have tried to suggest that she has put on a few pounds and is an inappropriate choice for a weight loss product line, anyway.

Of course, she has every right, in a free country, to make her feelings known. Since the company hired her to promote their weight loss products to begin with, her own weight has nothing to do with anything.

Kerry supporters are quick to blame the “Republican” industrial complex — to which they apparently think Slim-Fast belongs — for banning together in a conspiracy to silence someone who disagrees with their president. They have also questioned whether Freedom of Speech really exists for Democrats.

A company who hires someone as a spokesperson is looking for a certain image. If the person hired does something that becomes a public relations problem for the company, the company has every right to release the person in question. It mustn’t automatically be part of some grand conspiracy.

Back when the Dixie Chicks made their remarks about Bush, these same people complained that they were being punished for exercising their free speech. The Dixie Chicks had every right to make their feelings known then. The radio stations that carried their music had every right to not air their music. The consumers had every right to decide whether to buy their music again.

Same thing here. Whoopi had every right to speak her mind. Slim-Fast had every right to make a decision it felt was best for its image. Consumers have every right to make their feelings known about what Whoopi said. It’s a cycle, but not vicious at all…it’s just exists.

It isn’t a question of one performer not having a voice: Whoopi has one. It’s not a case of an opponent to the current administration being “silenced:” she hasn’t been silenced, she’s practically being painted as a martyr by some!

A few bloggers have said that the only time a political joke is funny is when a Republican makes fun of a Democrat. None of them were laughing when Republicans were making their snide comments about Clinton’s Oval Office incident with Monica Lewinsky. And as George Bush himself proved when he joked about Weapons of Mass Destruction at a press dinner, Republicans can’t even make fun of themselves.

Maybe politics and humor should always be kept apart? Don’t hold your breath.

If you really want to wave red flags, the only reasonable one to wave, as far as I’m concerned is this one: given that Whoopi took every possible opportunity during her NBC sitcom to make fun of the current president, why would Slim-Fast hire her then be surprised by her political leanings? Perhaps, to their way of thinking, Whoopi crossed the line by turning the president’s surname into a sexual reference…maybe the “X-rated” part was what did it for them.

Either way, we all have our rights here. Whoopi spoke up, exercising hers. Slim-Fast spoke up, exercising its legal rights.

Yours comes in when it’s time to shed a few pounds and you’re walking down that grocery store aisle where they stock the diet products. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want to support Whoopi and just eat smaller portions, or doyou want to buy some Slim-Fast shakes!

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.