bulletGive Philip Morris a piece of your mind.

 

 

nietvelt@mc.net wrote:
>
> You may have noticed the Domestic Violence program being run by
> Philip Morris companies.  I wrote the CEO of the company, received a
> response from the Manager in charge of the DV Programs, and sent her
> back a letter.
>
> Philip Morris owns Miller Breweries and Kraft in addition to the
> cigarette part of the company.  Personally, I refuse to buy anything
> from them until they straighten out their attitude, and some of you
> may wish to write to complain or advise that you are boycotting them
> until they smarten up.
>
> Here is the correspondance, starting with my first letter:April 1,
> 2001
>
> Philip Morris Companies Inc.
> 120 Park Avenue
> New York, NY 10017
> Attn:  Geoffrey C. Bible, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
> Philip Morris Companies Inc
> Dr. Mr. Bible:
> I wish to complain to you directly about Philip Morris'
> advertising
> campaign involving your initiatives on "Domestic Violence".
> It is
> interesting that for your company to consider providing further
> grants under this initiative you insist that, among other
> stipulations, "Philip Morris does not support organizations that
> discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation,
> disability or national origin."
> It seems to me that Philip Morris itself is guilty of discriminating
> precisely on the basis of gender in its zeal to put forth that the
> only victims of domestic violence are women.  Witness your
> description of this philanthropic endeavor:
> "Studies show that in the United States a woman is battered every
> nine seconds. And, during the course of their lifetime, one-third of
> all American women will experience at least one physical assault by a
> partner. In fact, battering is the leading cause of injury to women
> ages 15 to 44 in this country."
> "…But women who have survived violent and abusive relationships
> know
> that beyond the pain there is hope."
> "Often, the workplace is the only place where battered women feel
> safe…"
> While you are busy `educating' the world about Domestic
> Violence, you
> may consider taking some time to educate yourselves.
> Men and women are equally the initiator of physical domestic
> violence.  Half the total violence is reciprocal (and equal parts
> initiated by each gender), the other half is evenly split between,
> only committed by the female, and only committed by the male.
> (Source: 1975 US National Family Violence Survey. Change in Spouse
> Assault Rates from 1975 to 1992:  A Comparison of Three National
> Surveys in the United States, Murray Straus and Glenda Kaufman
> Kantor, presented at the 13th World Congress of Sociology, Bielefeld,
> Germany, July 1994, and many other sources.  All countries show
> consistent figures.)
> In the U.S. in 1994, husband on wife severe assault had an occurrence
> rate of 2.0 percent.  Severe husband assault of the sort promoted
> happens in only 1 of 50 households.  (Source: 13th World Congress of
> Sociology, Bielefeld, Germany, July 1994.)
> In the U.S. in 1994, wife on husband severe assault had an occurrence
> rate of 4.6 percent. (Ibid.)
> I'm certain that you have a research department that, with a
> little
> effort, could have discovered the amazing fact that domestic violence
> isn't ONLY against women.  Yet for some reason (perhaps to
> appease
> the strident feminist agenda in North America?) you have chosen to
> throw your considerable weight behind at best � of the victims of
> this reprehensible crime, and worse yet, insinuate that men are never
> the recipients of female violence.  (The above statistics were taken
> from "Where's Daddy? The Mythologies behind
> Custody-Access-Support"
> Harbinger Press, Richmond Virginia 2000.  You may wish to read this
> most interesting study of how we have marginalized the male half of
> our culture.  The author includes information on numerous studies
> that may help you understand the degree of misinformation you are
> dispensing in your ad campaign on Domestic Violence.)
> Why do you even bother to label what you are trying to support
> as "Domestic Violence"?  Call it what it is –
> "Understanding and
> Funding for Women Only – Men Need Not Apply".  In fact,
> I'm surprised
> that fund recipients aren't specifically restricted to women in
> your
> Grant Guidelines.  How many men's shelters have you sponsored, or
> are
> applications for those just thrown out?  Considering the tenor of
> your advertising on this subject I would be surprised if anyone would
> even try to apply for help for male victims.  You clearly indicate
> your bias towards the `weaker' sex every time that ad plays
> on
> television or radio.
> Can you even imagine putting on a campaign that would declare your
> support of only white female victims of domestic violence?  Your
> organization would never consider doing such a thing, but you
> certainly don't seem to mind treating men as if they are worse
> than
> second class citizens, undeserving of help where it is needed or
> truth when it is so available – not popular perhaps, but
> available.
> Do you realize how many people get all their information from the
> media?  How few people actually bother to conduct research behind
> these societal assumptions?  The damage you people are doing is
> unimaginable.  For some reason, our culture has chosen to hate and
> fear their male members and the repercussions on our sons AND
> daughters is the truth about this subject, instead of just half of
> the going to be frightening.  Philip Morris doesn't have to
> contribute a penny towards men's causes I suppose, but it does
> have a
> duty in my opinion to disseminate story.
> Yours truly,
>
> Janet Nietvelt
> (address deleted)
>
> (Response)
>
> May 24, 2001 [a little date typo I guess since I got it 5/21!]
>
> Ms. Janet Nietvelt
> (address deleted)
>
> Dear Ms. Nietvelt:
>
> Thank you for your letter addressed to Mr. Geoffrey Bible.  Your
> letter was forwarded to me for review.  I would like to thank you for
> taking the time to let us know how you feel about the campaign we are
> currently running.  Our intention in starting this advertising
> campaign was to raise public awareness about the issues we, as a
> company, feel strongly about, such as hunger relief, youth smoking
> prevention, humanitarian aid and, of course, domestice violence.
>
> As you know, domestic violence is a prevealent problem in our
> society.  While our television commerical focuses on the domestic
> abuse story of a brave and resolute woman, we fully realize that
> domestic violence does not discriminate -- it affects men, women and
> children of all ages, races and religions.  It also affects our
> families, friends and co-workers.  That is why the Philip Morris
> family of companies has made domestic violence a top giveing priority
> of our corporate contributions.
>
> Please be assured that while our television advertising campaign may
> be the most visible aspect of our commitment to domestic violence, it
> is only one part of a long-standing, company-wide initiative to raise
> awareness of domestic violence and to help all victims escape the
> cycle of abuse that is associated with this formidable social problem.
>
> We invite you to visit our website, www.philipmorris.com/pmcares/, to
> learn more about our efforts in this area.  Thank you again for
> sharing your perspective on this issue.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Diane Eidman
> Manager, Domestic Violence Programs
>
> And here is my response to her response:
>
> May 21, 2001
>
> Diane Eidman
> Manager, Domestic Violence Programs
> Philip Morris Companies Inc.
> 120 Park Avenue
> New York, NY 10017
>
> Dear Ms. Eidman:
>
> Thank you for your letter in response to mine regarding your Domestic
> Violence prevention program.
>
> You seem to recognize privately at least that domestic violence is
> committed against both women and men, however I disagree completely
> with your assertion that it is `only' your television
> advertising
> campaign that paints victims of this crime as being women.
>
> Your own website states the following with respect to the program:
> "Studies show that in the United States a woman is battered every
> nine seconds. And, during the course of their lifetime, one-third of
> all American women will experience at least one physical assault by a
> partner. In fact, battering is the leading cause of injury to women
> ages 15 to 44 in this country."
> "…But women who have survived violent and abusive relationships
> know
> that beyond the pain there is hope."
> "Often, the workplace is the only place where battered women feel
> safe…"
> Not only have I seen the `victim as woman' slant on your
> television
> advertising, I have heard the same commercial on the radio.  In fact,
> nowhere have I seen Philip Morris ever talk about men being victims
> of domestic violence.  Have I missed some other advertising you do
> that talks about the prevalence of violence towards men?  If so,
> please point me in the right direction.
>
> Even if the only place you propagate this point of view is
> television – which clearly it isn't - surely you must realize
> that
> most people in North America are powerfully affected by television as
> a means of understanding the world around them, otherwise you
> wouldn't be incurring the expense to spread news of your program
> in
> this manner.  You could at least consider matching your `women
> victims' advertising equally with one about men, and really do
> some
> good by educating people that domestic violence affects both
> genders.  That fact is NEWS to most people.  The impression you are
> leaving the television watching and radio-listening public is clearly
> that only women suffer from this social malady, and I think you know
> this.  Quite often, men who report abuse are disbelieved and have
> their complaints dismissed or laughed off.  Most people don't
> believe
> that a woman could beat a man physically, and I think quite frankly
> that your campaign is feeding that prejudice purposefully, since the
> image of a woman being beaten by a man will meet with a more
> sympathetic response than the reverse.  This could make your campaign
> a lot more successful, but it is doing irreparable harm, and I am
> appalled that in spite of the fact that you seem aware that the
> impression you are leaving is disingenuous, you have done nothing to
> balance out the truth about domestic violence.
>
> I am associated with some men's and fathers' rights groups
> throughout
> North America and I have been keeping them abreast of this
> information.  Men drink a lot of Miller beer, smoke a lot of
> cigarettes, and eat a lot of Kraft Dinner (particularly the ones who
> are being drained financially for child and spousal support) but they
> may see no good reason to continue to support a company that so
> obviously discriminates against them in their philanthropic
> endeavors.  Certainly, I will not be buying any more of Philip Morris
> products until I see a radical change in your position, and I will be
> encouraging anyone with whom I come in contact to follow suit.
>
> Yours truly,
>
> Janet Nietvelt
> (address deleted)