by Patricia Sellers
I was visiting Gina Bianchini, the founder and former CEO of Ning, in Silicon Valley
last month, and we found ourselves randomly wondering: Why are boycotts, so common years ago, not a popular product of the Internet era?
With social networking all the rage, we thought, how easy it is to organize impassioned people and mobilize.
Which brings to mind an idea: Can we boycott Charlie Sheen?
The boycott–a word coined in 1880 when people rose up to kill the career of a greedy Irish land agent named Captain Charles Boycott–is not all so passe today, as it turns out. A site called ethicalconsumer.org lists a long lot of boycotts, from Adidas (“for using kangaroo skin to make some types of football boots”) to Wal-Mart for carrying out anti-union activities.
But back to Sheen. Women could launch a “girlcott” against the unhinged star of CBS’s Two and a Half Men. (“Girlcott” originated in the 60s; tennis great Billie Jean King lobbed the term when she was fighting for equal pay for women players at Wimbledon.) As New York Times media scribe David Carr noted Monday, CBS gave Sheen rope when he flagrantly mistreated women in his life–including threatening to kill his wife, according to his felony charge. But CBS halted production of Two and a Half Men only after he dissed his boss with anti-Semitic remarks.
Right call, but overdue.
Now millions of us are feeding the beast by watching Sheen all over the TV talk shows and following him on Twitter. Yesterday Sheen sent his first tweet: “Winning..! Choose your vice…” along with a picture of himself and one of his live-in porn-star “goddesses” brandishing bottles of juice and chocolate milk.
As of early this afternoon, Sheen has more than 853,000 followers.
I’m not one of those. I peeked at his Twitter page, but I won’t follow him.
Care to launch a Charlie Sheen boycott? I’m in.