Comcast CEO Brian Roberts came under fire Wednesday at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Philadelphia when he was asked about a new policy of banning gun shops ads, while continuing to air a wide array of violent programming.
Earlier this year, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut, Comcast announced it would no longer run commercials for guns or ammunition.
Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of its Free Enterprise Project, asked Roberts:
“Why does Comcast’s management believe it is appropriate for Comcast to profit from the excessive glorification of gun violence, but not appropriate for gun shops to advertise legal firearms and ammunition to people who overwhelmingly use firearms in a lawful and safe manner, including in self-defense?”
As noted in a press release issued by the conservative think tank, the Comcast CEO was “smirking and laughing” as Danhof asked his question.
Danhof interrupted himself to tell Roberts, “you can sit and laugh, but I’m going to finish my question.”
“That’s your point of view,” Roberts responded to the eventual question, according to Newsletters Forum. “We simply aligned our policy with different parts of the company, with different positions, and what ads they’ll accept.”
Danhof replied, “If you’re naive enough to think that Americans who respect gun rights aren’t gonna vote with their wallets and leave Comcast, you’re as naive as you are hypocritical.”
Tom Borelli, senior fellow with the tea party front group FreedomWorks, was also on hand and commented on the company’s ownership of the far-left MSNBC cable news outlet, saying Comcast risked losing conservative cable subscribers.
“Conservatives can abandon your business,” Borelli said.
In saying that Comcast supports a “diversity of voices,” Roberts replied: “We appreciate the comment. All the management’s here. We heard your point. Thank you very much.”
The company announced that stocks climbed 60.7 percent in 2012 and shareholders reelected the entire slate of board nominees, so conservative viewers have no reason to expect anything but more of the same in the year ahead.
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