The telecom says it doesn’t need any distractions from its main mission of unplugging the $39B AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Much credit for the decision to kill the ad goes to Michi Eyre, a transgender woman who founded REC Networks. REC is an ally of Sprint and two of the named partners in the ad—Media Access Project and Center for Media Justice—in seeking to block the merger.
In an open letter to the MAP, Eyre wrote that while REC didn’t believe the ad was an act of “intentional transphobia,” opponents of civil rights for the transgendered community often say they do not want “men in dresses” working at their companies.
“While we agree, the depiction of this specific model in this specific dress does not look right, it does create shock and fear and sends the message ‘people born of one biological sex and wearing the clothes of the other biological sex is wrong.’ This is a message we have been fighting.”
REC wants its allies to “think about the impact of your message delivery on other causes, while not in your realm, are just as important and think about your potential of causing harm to those causes before using that message to promote your cause."
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior VP of the MAP, apologized for the ad, which he called “insensitive.” He said the ad did not receive proper vetting due to the rush to place it ahead of today’s Senate hearings on the merger.
Lucy Tutwiler, spokesperson for the Rural Cellular Assn., says her group got a lot of positive feedback by people who understood the ad was spoof of T-Mobile’s advertising, but the focus must be on derailing the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.