- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2003

MCI is being pressured to disconnect from actor Danny Glover.

Anti-American and pro-Fidel Castro political comments from the star of the “Lethal Weapon” movie series has caused a backlash from consumers who are calling for a boycott of the phone company for employing the actor as its spokesman.

“MCI must fire Glover,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a Washington public-interest group calling for a boycott, said in a statement. “Any more than it should have a spokesman supporting Osama bin Laden, it can’t have a spokesman supporting terrorist Castro.”

Mr. Glo-ver, with 160 artists and intellectuals, signed a two-paragraph declaration earlier this month denouncing the war in Iraq and defending Fidel Castro’s government against criticism over its recent crackdown on dissent.

Mr. Castro’s government sentenced 75 dissidents to prison terms of up to 28 years last month and executed three men who hijacked a ferry in a failed attempt to reach the United States.

MCI won’t comment directly on the fate of Mr. Glover’s stint with MCI but did say in a statement: “We chose Danny Glover because of his high consumer appeal and ratings. In fact, these ads have produced some of the highest likability scores for any of our spokespeople ever.”

Ads for the “Neighborhood,” MCI’s local and long-distance service, starring Mr. Glover started running earlier this year, before he signed the document.

Mr. Glover’s spokeswoman said reports of Mr. Glover’s possible termination are “unsubstantiated rumors.” Mr. Glover’s relationship with MCI is “categorically solid and successful,” she said.

MCI said that as a result of the company’s name change from WorldCom, it is “currently reviewing our options for new product campaigns that are more in line with our corporate-brand advertising work.”

Several groups are calling for the boycott of MCI as long as the phone service continues to use Mr. Glover.

Message boards on Free Republic’s Web site, which bills itself as a conservative news forum, are filled with comments from consumers who canceled their MCI service and are outraged over Mr. Glover’s frequent political statements.

“I saw the commercial yesterday and plan on canceling tomorrow,” one person wrote on www.freerepublic.com. “[I] will be writing them a letter as well, explaining my canceling of their service … don’t think they will much care but I will feel better.”

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