TO: John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society
RE: This is appalling
In March, you told a national radio audience that the serious programming problems at the National Geographic Channel were being addressed by a new management team.
Last week, you told the staff at an all-hands meeting that the serious programming problems at the National Geographic Channel were being addressed by three new production hubs in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
But the problems aren’t getting fixed. In fact, they keep getting worse, with no problem worse than this one:
Dr. Ian Hancock has repeatedly asked you to stop broadcasting the National Geographic Channel’s reality series American Gypsies. For publicly criticizing the series as “racist, slanderous, and degrading,” Dr. Hancock is now being threatened, along with his family, with anonymous phone calls. The man behind the calls has evidently taken the Channel’s marketing of American Gypsies — the whole Mafia-Godfather-Sopranos thing — all too seriously, warning Dr. Hancock in true Wise Guy-fashion: You come after my family, I’m coming after yours.
You laughed last week when you used the term “factual fiction.” But this situation isn’t funny. It’s absolutely appalling.
Question is: How are you going to fix this? And: How do you plan to guarantee the safety of Dr. Hancock, his wife, and their five children?