14 J. POLISH nation
Re: BOYCOTT of The Drew
Carey Show et al
To the Polish-American News Media, -
submitted for publication.
A) BOYCOTT of ABC TV, "The
Drew Carey Show" and its sponsors;
B) DEMANDS of ABC TV and the
C) Frank Milewski, Polish American
Congress Anti-Bigotry Committee "agreement" with ABC TV
as published in a recent Press Release.
The following abbreviations will be
used throughout this article:
Polish American Congress -- PAC;
Polish-American Public Relations Committee - PAPUREC;
Frank Milewski, Polish American Congress Anti-Bigotry
Committee -- FM-PAC;
"The Drew Carey Show" -- "Drew Carey".
Following the most offensive to
Polish-Americans episode on March 19, 1997 ABC TV "Drew
Carey", PAPUREC instituted a BOYCOTT of ABC, the show and
its sponsors. The BOYCOTT was decided upon after
consultation with various Pol-Ams alarmed at the ongoing
anti-Polish hate propaganda in the U.S. through all possible
media. An accord was reached respecting the multiple purpose
and steps of the BOYCOTT:
a) The BOYCOTT is primarily a
rallying call to Pol-Ams rather than an economic threat
to ABC or the industrial giants which sponsor "Drew
Carey". The reality of a united Polonia is more
threatening to our enemies than any economic losses a
BOYCOTT would cause;
b) The BOYCOTT is a vehicle through
which Pol-Ams can present themselves as a cohesive ethnic
group and vent their outrage directly towards those who
offend their heritage and demean Poland;
c) Once a substantial number of
Pol-Ams protested in writing to ABC and the sponsors,
PAPUREC was to issue DEMANDS towards rectifying the
wrongs done to the community. This has already been done,
and the BOYCOTT changed to BOYCOTT/DEMANDS.
d) The offense on "Drew Carey" is
to be used as a vehicle with which to forward numerous
examples of published anti-Polish propaganda to U.S.
Attorneys General, anticipating that the evidence will
meet provisions of Hate Crime in the Penal Codes of
various States. Additionally, the same information is to
go to U.S. Congresspeople, Senators and 100 of the
largest school districts to put all "On Notice" to the
extent of anti-Polonism in the U.S. This step is
currently in preparation.
On June 25, 1997, by Certified Mail,
PAPUREC sent DEMANDS to Bob Iger, President of ABC,
excerpted as follows:
" ... 1. ABC will fund the
production of a video presentation of at least one hour
in length which will depict Poland and Polish Americans
in a true light and graphically debunk the most prevalant
anti-Polish stereotypes, all of which are manufactured by
the mass media. This TV special will be broadcast during
prime time by ABC and distributed free of charge to
school systems throughout the country. PAPUREC will have
total creative control over this presentation, and make
use of experts within the Polish-American community to
staff the project.
2. The CEO of ABC will offer a
public apology to the Polish American community. This
short statement will be re-broadcast at the beginning of
at least 10 future Drew Carey episodes.
3. Any reference to Polish
ethnicity expressed in any way, shape or form will be
deleted from all future episodes on "The Drew Carey Show"
and existing episodes carrying said references will not
be re-broadcast. ..."
On July 8, 1997, PAPUREC sent the
following DEMANDS to each of the sponsors of "Drew Carey",
excerpted as follows:
" ... By financing the biased
message "The Drew Carey Show" sends, sponsors become
co-culpable with the Networks as to the damage done in
this case to those of Polish heritage. Bearing in mind
the amount of dollars that sponsors have paid to enable
"The Drew Carey Show" to do its damage, the sponsors are
dutybound and honorbound to allocate appropriate amounts
of dollars to help undo said damage. We demand that each
sponsor places said appropriate amounts into a special
account for PAPUREC to administrate to Polish-American
organizations with a proven track record of constructive
community advancement. ... "
From the onset, the PAC Head Office in
Chicago was informed of the BOYCOTT by every document issued
by PAPUREC. When an indication suggested that PAC also
considered a BOYCOTT (joining the ongoing or initiating a
new one) PAPUREC forwarded to PAC Head Office an already
researched list of sponsors including names, addresses and
telephone numbers. All regional offices of PAC received the
BOYCOTT flyer and other initial information. To date, no
communication from PAC has been received respecting the
The call to BOYCOTT was joined by
several Pol-Am newspapers and radio which contributed
immeasurably to its spread and encouraged personal contacts
as well as financing. The BOYCOTT became a nationally
supported project as well as a responsibility and an
obligation on the part of PAPUREC to pursue a just resolve.
As a side issue, a revelation surfaced of widespread
dissatisfaction of Pol-Ams at PAC for its lack of meaningful
action to combat anti-Polonism.
On June 18, 1997, PAPUREC received by
fax a copy of a published article informing that FM-PAC was
meeting with ABC with proposals as follows:
" ... the Polish American
Congress proposes that ABC not repeat the March 19th
episode or put into syndication and stop identifying
"Mimi" as Polish" ... ... [FM-PAC] asked Iger,
[ABC Pres.] "about the intentions the script
writers may have regarding references to our ethnic group
in future segments.""
The article informed that by then
(circa June 15 or earlier), ABC received "many letters of
protest" by Pol-Ams in response to the call to BOYCOTT which
FM-PAC considered "a big help to the committee and
strengthened its position". The article gave no indication
that the BOYCOTT was at all mentioned by FM-PAC in his
meetings with ABC.
On June 18, 1997, in reaction to the
news in the faxed article, PAPUREC faxed a critical letter
to FM-PAC for undermining the ongoing BOYCOTT and
wishy-washy "proposals". to ABC
On June 26, 1997, another critical
letter by PAPUREC was faxed to FM-PAC, a copy of the letter
with DEMANDS to Bob Iger, President of ABC dated June 25,
1997 WAS INCLUDED. In a telephone conversation, FM-PAC was
criticized for PAC's ineffective defense of Poland and
Pol-Ams over many years.
On July 21st, FM-PAC mailed to PAPUREC
a copy of a letter from ABC to himself DATED JULY 2, 1997.
The letter informs of "an agreement", "resolution", reached
by Chris Hikawa of ABC with the producers of "Drew Carey",
and asks that FM-PAC communicate said "resolution" to
Ending a reactive note to Edward J.
Moskal, President of PAC, respecting the inaction by PAC in
the defense of Poland and Pol-Ams, I stated: "Mr. Moskal.
Pol-Ams are justifiably angry. I foresee that unless the PAC
takes some courageous action, the anger will descend onto
the heads of the leaders of PAC."
On July 31st, PAPUREC received by
E-mail a copy of a Press Release issued by FM-PAC announcing
his "agreement" with ABC. Here it is in pertinent
" ... Chris Hikawa, Vice
President for Broadcast Standards and Practices at ABC,
advised Milewski that she "reached an agreement with the
producers of the 'Drew Carey Show' to have the episode
entitled 'Two Kings and a Queen" edited before
rebroadcast. The character of the King of Poland will be
eliminated from the program."
Polish Americans were also disturbed
by the loud-mouthed, clown-like female character called
"Mimi", who was depicted as being Polish on this particular
program. In response to the concerns of the Anti-Bigotry
Committee, Ms. Hikawa stated, "in the future there will be
no further mention of Mimi Bobek's Polish
The P.A.C. commended all Polish
Americans who took the time to contact ABC and complain. "It
gave us the leverage we needed", said Milewski. He also
cited the willingness of New York Congresswoman Carolyn
Maloney to join the community's effort. Special mention of
Dana Alvi's PAPUREC from California was made by Ms. Hikawa
Concluding his discussions with Ms.
Hikawa, Milewski told her it would now be appropriate for
ABC to do some positive portrayals of Polish Americans "to
equalize the balance sheet.""
This FM-PAC's "agreement" verifies why
the demeaning of Poland in U.S. runs rampant and has been
intensifying unchecked for years.
To date, PAC has not issued any
written statement regarding the offense on "Drew Carey". The
Head Office simply ignored it. PAC has not gathered wishes
of Pol-Ams on ANY nationwide sample on how to react to the
offense. PAPUREC has, - thus the BOYCOTT/DEMANDS resulted.
In telephone calls to PAPUREC, Pol-Ams from FM-PAC area, New
York, together with New Jersey, have been the most vocal in
their disapproval of PAC record of combatting
PAPUREC, honoring its obligation to
the cause and to all Pol-Ams who support the BOYCOTT/DEMANDS
will continue its utmost to reach the established
Apart from being duplicitous and
disingenuous, the FM-PAC "agreement" sends a loud and clear
message to our assailants that Polonians are push-overs and
easy targets for victimization.. This "agreement" can not
even be termed as such since it has not been specified in
writing. It was reached by Chris Hikawa, an ABC employee
with the producers of "Drew Carey" and transmitted as a
vague message to FM-PAC. Ms. Hikawa is dutybound to protect
the interests/agendas of ABC, not any Polish
The (most) offensive March 19, 1997
segment, would not have been repeated by ABC anyway, because
THE SPONSORS have:
i) a record of protests by
Pol-Ams who wrote to them resulting from the call to
ii) PAPURC's DEMAND letter dated
iii) PAPUREC's flyer re BOYCOTT
wherein is a mention of taking this matter to U.S.
Attorney General Janet Reno and all State Attorneys
Some sponsors, in their contacts with
PAPUREC, expressed concern over the offense to Pol-Ams. ABC
would have simply withheld this particular segment from
re-runs or syndication. Besides, it is very expensive to
re-make a segment.
It is not clear whether the episode,
now called "Two Kings and a Queen" is the March 19, 1997 one
which caused the BOYCOTT. There might be another offensive
episode. According to all reports, only one "King" and one
"Queen" were featured on March 19th. If the "character of
the King of Poland" is "eliminated from the program", is the
"Queen", "Mimi," going to talk to herself ? In this epiode,
she is dressed in a Polish folk outfit. She is in the bar
"Warsaw Tavern" decorated with Polish national emblems. Is
it acceptable to FM-PAC that treasured Polish emblems remain
a regular set in an, at best, utterly stupid show ? How did
New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, "join the
community's effort" in this embarrassing conduct by FM-PAC
Having made his presence at ABC as the
representative of the POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS, FM-PAC
should have USED HIS POSITION as "the leverage" to insist
that ABC meets the demands sent to them by
We request the Polish-American media
to denounce the shameless behavior by FM-PAC; to support the
BOYCOTT/DEMANDS as well as the subsequent, planned actions
presented above, and; - to appeal to its audience for
finances for PAPUREC to facilitate its efforts in the battle
against the annihilation of Polish Culture.
signed Dana I. Alvi
P. S. The cataclysmic Flood which
inundated vast regions of Poland caused loss of life and
immeasurable loss of property. It is outrageous that the PAC
did not have any impact on the general news media, - either
in gaining coverage or in having its leaders issue appeals
to the general U.S. population for humanitarian aid.
Spokespersons for other ethnic groups are always given a
public platform in times of disasters. Polonia is tired of
its leadership constantly asking an economically
marginalized population to even further impoverish itself in
the interest of humanitarian activity, while other groups
target more ample sources of aid. How can the PAC go on
calling itself THE representative organization of American
Polonia, when its lack of effective action in the face of
such a monumental crisis as the present Flood is proof of
its utter lack of competence ?