On April 21, GEICO showed the world that a gecko is not the proper mascot for the insurance giant. Instead, they should look for something spineless and soft. A jellyfish, perhaps?
On this date, GEICO fired voiceover actor Lance Baxter. Baxter provided voice work on a number of ads for the insurance company, including their famed gecko ads. However, Baxter, in a shocking twist, also has political opinions that he is occasionally moved to express. Apparently those two aspects do not mix well.
On March 23, Baxter was moved to express these opinions after seeing Tea Partiers hurl homophobic remarks at Senator Barney Frank. He called FreedomWorks, one of the groups that organizes Tea Party rallies, and left a message for the organization. In part of this message he enquires as to how many of the Tea Partiers are “mentally retarded” and whether or not the organization has plans for the public relations spin for “when one of your members does actually kill somebody.”
FreedomWorks’s response to this was way out of line. After publishing this message, including Baxter’s phone number, and the contents of the follow-up call on YouTube, they also urged their membership to flood GEICO’s phone lines with calls expressing outrage over the alleged insults. GEICO, showing absolutely no character whatsoever, responded by firing the actor.
Let’s face it, Baxter is right on this issue. The Tea Party movement is hardly a bastion of intellectualism, and many of the arguments they make border on the level of mental retardation. The ridiculous and retarded nature of this movement is even apparent immediately upon hearing their name. There is no analogy between anything these right-wing, racist, homophobic idiots are crying over and the original Tea Party from whence they took the name. The idiocy continues when you consider their tie with the Birthers, their adoration of the presidency of George W. Bush, and their affection for, and worship of, Sarah Palin.
If any more proof of the retarded nature of the Tea Party was needed, Baxter compiled his own video, this one of the calls he received from Tea Party members played over images of Tea Party rallies. Baxter, at least, had the decency to redact callers’ names and phone numbers from his video.
GEICO, of course, has every right to fire Baxter, but doing so was a poor decision on their part. Not only does this show their own spineless nature (Am I supposed to believe that they will go to bat for me on a disputed claim?), but it also gives another victory to this delusional and potentially dangerous movement. It was a move, their own ad men might say, so dumb that only a caveman would do it.