CCFC to Disney: We Won't Be Silenced; Advocacy group vows to continue its important work on behalf of children

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10, 2010
Contact:  Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)
For Immediate Release

CCFC to Disney: We Won't Be Silenced
Advocacy group vows to continue its important work on behalf of children

BOSTON (March 10, 2010) -- After ten incredibly productive years, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has been forced to leave the Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC), a Harvard-affiliated children’s mental health center in Boston. JBCC’s decision to end its affiliation with CCFC came after representatives from the Walt Disney Company contacted the Center following CCFC’s successful campaign to persuade Disney to offer refunds on its Baby Einstein videos.

“It is chilling that any corporation, particularly one marketing itself as family friendly, would lean on a children’s mental health center,” said CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn. “It is more important than ever that those who care about children’s wellbeing speak out against the corporate takeover of childhood.”

Last fall, after a front-page story in the New York Times called the Baby Einstein refunds “a tacit admission that {the videos} do not increase infant intellect,” representatives from Disney contacted JBCC. In the aftermath, CCFC staff was pressured not to talk to the press about Baby Einstein. Questions were raised whether CCFC’s mission was appropriate for the Center. In January, CCFC was told—after its most successful year-to-date—to leave Judge Baker.

Judge Baker’s decision was sharply criticized by psychiatrist Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, director of the Media Center at Judge Baker Children's Center, who was scheduled to receive JBCC’s prestigious World of Children Award on Saturday, March 13 at a gala celebrating his commitment to children’s wellbeing and a lifetime of advocacy. Dr. Poussaint refused the award on CCFC’s behalf:

“In convincing some of the biggest corporations in the world to change their marketing policies, CCFC's work has benefited not just the children directly served by Judge Baker, but children all over the world,” wrote Dr. Poussaint in a letter to Judge Baker. “It is the obligation of all health and mental health institutions, and professionals, to stand up to any entity that is harming children and to work hard to change the related societal forces.”

“We have great admiration for the Center’s staff, and their work on behalf of children,” said Dr. Linn. “But we are deeply saddened that the institution ceded its ground and stopped supporting CCFC and our efforts to challenge powerful interests in order to protect children and support parents.”

CCFC now has a new home at Third Sector New England (TSNE), an organization devoted to promoting a more just and democratic society.

"Third Sector New England is delighted to be the new home of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood,” said TSNE’s Executive Director Jonathan Spack. “CCFC's work to halt the commercial exploitation of children by corporate marketers is a wonderful addition to TSNE's social and economic justice programming. We look forward to helping CCFC continue its successful advocacy for policies and practices that protect the most vulnerable among us." 

Added Dr. Linn, “We are so pleased to be at TSNE. It’s a wonderful organization, and a great place to continue our work reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers.”

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