Lawrence O'Donnell Defends GEICO Voice-over Actor Who Called Tea Partiers Mentally Retarded Killers
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday defended a GEICO voice-over actor who referred to Tea Party members as mentally retarded killers.
Last week, Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas left the following voice-mail at the offices of FreedomWorks (audio available here):
Hi there. I`m doing a paper about FreedomWorks and I was wondering if somebody could give me a call back. I`m wrapping up and I just have one more piece of information I need to get from you guys -- just need to know what the percentage is of people that are mentally retarded who work for the organization, and are members of it. And oh -- and one final thing, wondering what your plans are, how to spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering how, if you`ve got an actual P.R. spinning routine planned for that or are you just going to take it when it happens. Just curious. So, give me a call when you get a chance. Thanks so much.
Baxter has since been fired for this disgusting message, and O'Donnell filling in for Keith Olbermann on Wednesday's "Countdown" actually came to the actor's defense claiming he was only exercising his First Amendment rights (video follows with transcript and commentary):
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Members of the tea party say they`re upset about the unemployment rate, but it turns out they`ve just added to the problem.
In our number two story: the voice of GEICO insurance now finds himself out of a job over a voicemail he left for tea partiers.
Voice-over actor Lance Baxter, also known as "D.C. Douglas," says he`s been fired because of a voicemail he left for members of FreedomWorks, the tea party organization run by Dick Armey. For those keeping score at home, Mr. Baxter isn`t the voice of the gecko. He`s "the real service, real savings" guy.
Here`s his message to the tea partiers.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LANCE BAXTER, VOICE-OVER ACTOR: Hi there. I`m doing a paper about FreedomWorks and I was wondering if somebody could give me a call back. I`m wrapping up and I just have one more piece of information I need to get from you guys -- just need to know what the percentage is of people that are mentally retarded who work for the organization, and are members of it. And oh -- and one final thing, wondering what your plans are, how to spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering how, if you`ve got an actual P.R. spinning routine planned for that or are you just going to take it when it happens.
Just curious. So, give me a call when you get a chance. Thanks so much.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Hey, that is a really good voice.
Mr. Baxter writing about the message on his blog, "Yeah, I know -- stupid! And certainly not constructive. Unfortunately, in my haste, I used the phrase `mentally retarded,` which ultimately drags me down to their level."
Mr. Baxter also gave his phone number on the voicemail, which got posted on the conservative Web site BigGovernment.com. FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe elevating the rhetoric by writing an accompanying post: "Feel free to contact Lance. He was so kind to provide his number in the voicemail. Call his employer, too. Let them know that you, in fact, are not a mentally retarded killer."
In a press release, Mr. Baxter says he made the phone call because he was upset about tea partiers using gay and racial slurs against members of Congress. He also believes that his connection to GEICO is the primary reason he was targeted. GEICO pulled its ads from Glenn Beck`s show after Mr. Beck made racially-charged comments about President Obama.Mr. Baxter says he was calling as a private citizen but doesn`t blame GEICO for, quote, "protecting themselves, they have a business to run and can`t waste time getting caught up in the FreedomWorks circus."
Hey, GEICO, why are you guys firing this guy? He exercised his First Amendment right of free speech, then had the class to instantly apologize for the bad choice of words. What`s wrong with that?
Now, I understand why Marilyn Chambers could not continue being the face of Ivory Snow laundry detergent after she did a five-way behind the green door. But this guy isn`t the face of anything. He`s just a voice. Firing him is like firing a ghost. No one will know you changed the voice- over guy in your commercials.
Of the people who do know, surely some of them might prefer doing business with a company that respects the First Amendment.
Fascinating, isn't it?
MSNBC and O'Donnell have been berating, insulting, and denigrating Tea Partiers -- who are only exercising their First Amendment rights!!! -- for over a year.
Furthermore, the folks at MSNBC are constantly attacking Glenn Beck and others at Fox News for exercising THEIR First Amendment rights.
But when a man gets fired for leaving an astonishingly disgusting voice-mail message, O'Donnell is quick to come to his defense.
Color me astoundingly unsurprised.
Those interested in more on this story should visit the blog of FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe at Big Government.