Local activists turned to Twitter and other social media sites to urge advertisers to pull the plug on putting money towards the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association bi-monthly newsletter, after a flurry of controversial statements, including direct insults to protesters and their movement, were splashed throughout the publication.
In the May/June issue of the Pax Centurion, the official newsletter for the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, which represents “the nations first police department,” the editor, James Carnell, responded to a letter written by a member of Occupy Boston, by repeatedly insulting the group and it’s members.
“Why don’t you and your fellow occupiers go find a sandbox in Brookline or Newton, where you can protest injustices, stamp your feet, scream and yell, and then go home to Mommy and Daddy and eat quiche, brie and have a good long slug of Chardonnay?,” wrote Carnell.
In the publication, Carnell said “most police officers have to remain quiet because of our positions,” however he had the “luxury” of speaking on behalf of those police officers in his bi-monthly newsletter about what they “really think about you and your occupiers.”
“They were playing good cop. I, on the other hand, am evil and bad and have big claws and fangs and write terrible things about suburban nitwits who want to relive the 1960’s, beat drums, feel good about themselves, and screw up traffic for people who actually work for a living,“ Carnell wrote.
The comments sparked outrage on Twitter amongst members of Occupy Boston, and as activists and others read more into the entire publication, they discovered additional commentary, including jabs at Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat, as well as racist and sexist commentary in other editorial content.
The firestorm of complaints about the “highly offensive” and “sexist, racist commentary” was enough for Simmons College to decide to put an end to advertising in the publication.
On Facebook, representatives from Simmons College, which describes itself as a top Boston-area educational institute, reacted to concerns posted by one of its alumnae about Carnell and other contributors’ opinions.
A Simmons College spokesperson wrote:
Simmons’s sponsorship of the Police Patrolmen’s Association was intended to support the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association Scholarship Fund, which benefits the families of Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians. Our hope was to support Boston’s first responders through participating in this scholarship program.
However, they said they were “unaware of the editorial content” in the newsletter, and after careful review, will no longer advertise in this publication.
“We do intend, however, to continue our support of the scholarship fund through a direct donation,” according to the spokesperson. “We regret our inclusion in this publication.”
Other advertisers, like Harpoon Brewery, also took to Twitter to discuss ending their advertising ties with the BPPA newsletter.
Soon after, @LoJackCorp, “the worldwide leader in Stolen Vehicle Recovery,” announced they, too, would no longer advertise with the BPPA after Occupiers and activists alerted them about the content of the letter.
When contacted via Twitter this week, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis even got involved.
By Friday afternoon, as word spread through out the city about the newsletter, elected officials weighed in.
At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley had this to say, after a constituent asked about her thoughts:
State Representative Carlos Henriquez was dissapointed by the author’s opinions, but wasn’t surprised by it.
Carnell’s letter in the bi-monthly magazine even sparked an in-depth local discussion on Reddit, in the sub-category for the city of Boston. Over 137 people chatted back and forth on Thursday, some agreeing with Carnell, while others used profane words to describe the editor’s stance and response to Occupy Boston and the member who wrote to the BPPA.
One commenter on the Reddit thread had this to say:
While I thought it was funny, and actually agree with a couple of the points he makes, he goes on to appease every stereotype I have held about the Boston Police Department and thus loses any amount of substance that his article could have portrayed. Reminds me a of 4th grade playground fight.
BostInno reached out to representatives at the BPPA, including President Thomas Nee and several other key members, but did not receive a reply.
The BPPA’s letter has long been a very opinionated publication, and the May/June issue was an extension of a previous newsletter that prompted the Occupy Boston member to write in and express discontent over the editorial content.
Below, BostInno has provided the full newsletter from this month, which has been the source of all the controversy.
PAX 2012 MayJune