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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: January 20, 2006


Will Crumbs Crumble?

 Here’s the good news. Your voices are being heard!

  • One company (which asked to remain anonymous) has pulled three months worth of commercials from Crumbs' time slot.
  • USA Canon called to let NAMI know that ABC-TV last week placed their commercial during Crumbs without their knowledge. It was not their choice; the show does not represent their perspective on mental illness and people with disabilities; they will not advertise on the show. Their dialogue with us was cordial and sincere. If anyone is looking to buy a camera, be nice back and check out their models.
  • Rice-a-Roni will no longer advertise on the show -- although one commercial that’s under contract may still pop up.
  • Chevrolet is having General Motors consider StigmaBusters' concerns.

Here’s the bad news.

The premiere episode of Crumbs drew an audience of 12 million people. By comparison, in the same time slot: CSI drew 19 million; The Office 10 million; and The O.C. 6 million. Next week’s Nielsen ratings will give a better picture of whether or not the show has staying power.

Although not as bad as the premiere, the second episode (January 19) was still offensive in its frequent references to Mother Crumb’s stay in a “mental hospital.” Sample lines include:

  • “He’s my mom’s attendant friend from the psychiatric hospital.”
  • “I can’t believe you slept with an attendant from a mental hospital.”
  • “You can’t adopt a baby. Did you mention that you just got out of a mental hospital?”
  • "If (she) gets out, who stays in?” the attendant claims other people in the hospital are saying, when asked if they remember her.
  • “Should we call her shrink or is there something here we can plug in to zap her with?” her son asks, apparently alluding to electroconvulsive therapy.
  • One of her sons programmed her cell phone to play the song “Crazy Train” as its ring tone.

Keep Speaking Out!

Please contact ABC-TV again and this week’s commercial sponsors to protest the show’s stigmatization and trivialization of mental illness. Suggested points to make:

  • On Thursday, January 19, your company ran a commercial during ABC-TV's broadcast of Crumbs (9:30 PM ET), a show that stereotypes, trivializes, and makes fun of mental illness.
  • Please consider withdrawing as a sponsor of the show. Does Crumbs represent your company's perspective on mental illness and your policies toward people with disabilities.
  • What are you going to do to support the federal government’s National Anti-Stigma Campaign? Donate paid primetime airtime for PSAs. Sponsor NAMI walkathons. Educate your employees about mental illness and the need to eliminate stigma. Make up for the damage you have caused.

Anne M. Sweeney
Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks
President, Disney-ABC Television Group
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Steve McPherson
President, ABC Primetime Entertainment
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

We apologize for the incorrect ABC-TV email address included in last week’s alert. The network has changed to a new system for audience comments. Please go instead to its new address .

This Week’s Targets

Timothy J. Barberich                                                                
Chairman of the Board & CEO
Sepracor (
Lunesta sleep medication
84 Waterford Drive
Marlborough MA 01725
Phone: 1-800/LUNESTA (586-3782)

Lunesta is the only product that was advertised on both the premiere and second episode. Its sponsorship is especially offensive since as a sleep medication for “restless minds” its potential market includes mental health consumers. Don’t let them get away with it.

Citigroup (Citi Simplicty credit card)
399 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10043
Email: Click here to reach online form

Thomas J. Falk
Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Corporation (Kleenex anti-virus tissues)
P.O. Box 2020
Neenah WI 54957-2020
Phone: 1-888/525-8388 (Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm CST)
Email: Click here for online form

Gillette (Duracell batteries)
Prudential Tower
Boston MA 02199-8004
Phone: 1-800/551-2355 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST)
Fax: 1-800/796-456
Email: Click here for online form

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company (Johnson's baby oil)
Attn: Information Center
199 Grandview Road
Skillman NJ 08558-9418
Phone: 1-866/565-2229

Dr. H. Fisk Johnson
Chairman & CEO
S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (Ziploc double zipper bag)
1525 Howe Street
Racine WI 53403-5011
Phone: 1-800/494-4855
Email: (Select ziplock at the arrow) 

William Clay Ford, Jr.
Chairman & CEO
Ford Motor Company (Ford Fusion)
Customer Relationship Center
P.O.Box 6248
Dearborn, Michigan 48126
Phone: 1-800/392-3673(FORD) (Monday - Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST)
Email: Click here for online form

Roger K. Deromedi
Kraft Foods, Inc. (Mayonnaise)
1 Kraft Court
Glenview IL 60025
Phone: 1-800/323-0768
Email: Click here for online form

Chris Hill
Board Communications Designee
Sprint Wireless (Wireless phones)
2001 Edmund Halley Drive
Mailstop: A5-6
Reston VA 20191
Phone: 703/433-4000


Fredrik Arp
President & CEO
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC (Volvo cars)
7 Volvo Drive
Rockleigh NJ 07647
Phone: 1-800/458-1552 (Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST)

Stella March, National Coordinator
NAMI StigmaBusters

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