The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Josh Golin (857-241-2028;

CCFC to Disney: We Will Not Be Silenced

Forced from its home, advocacy group vows to continue its work on behalf of children.


After ten incredibly productive years, the Campaign for a
Commercial-Free Childhood has been forced to leave the Judge Baker
Children's Center (JBCC), a Harvard-affiliated children's mental health
center in Boston. JBCC's decision to end its affiliation with CCFC came
after representatives from the Walt Disney Company contacted the Center
following CCFC's successful campaign to persuade Disney to offer
refunds on its Baby Einstein videos.

"It is chilling that any corporation, particularly one marketing itself
as family friendly, would lean on a children's mental health center,"
said CCFC's Director, Dr. Susan Linn. "It is more important than ever
that those who care about children's wellbeing speak out against the
corporate takeover of childhood."

Last fall, after a front-page story in the New York Times
called the Baby Einstein refunds "a tacit admission that {the videos}
do not increase infant intellect," representatives from Disney
contacted JBCC. In the aftermath, CCFC staff was pressured not to talk
to the press about Baby Einstein. Questions were raised whether CCFC's
mission was appropriate for the Center. In January, CCFC was told-after
its most successful year-to-date-to leave Judge Baker.

Judge Baker's decision was sharply criticized by psychiatrist Dr. Alvin
F. Poussaint, director of the Media Center at Judge Baker Children's
Center, who was scheduled to receive JBCC's prestigious World of
Children Award on Saturday, March 13 at a gala celebrating his
commitment to children's wellbeing and a lifetime of advocacy. Dr.
Poussaint refused the award on CCFC's behalf:

"In convincing some of the biggest corporations in the world to change
their marketing policies, CCFC's work has benefited not just the
children directly served by Judge Baker, but children all over the
world," wrote Dr. Poussaint in a letter to Judge Baker.
"It is the obligation of all health and mental health institutions, and
professionals, to stand up to any entity that is harming children and
to work hard to change the related societal forces."

"We have great admiration for the Center's staff, and their work on
behalf of children," said Dr. Linn. "But we are deeply saddened that
the institution ceded its ground and stopped supporting CCFC and our
efforts to challenge powerful interests in order to protect children
and support parents."

CCFC now has a new home at Third Sector New England (TSNE), an
organization devoted to promoting a more just and democratic society.

"Third Sector New England is delighted to be the new home of the
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood," said TSNE's Executive
Director Jonathan Spack. "CCFC's work to halt the commercial
exploitation of children by corporate marketers is a wonderful addition
to TSNE's social and economic justice programming. We look forward to
helping CCFC continue its successful advocacy for policies and
practices that protect the most vulnerable among us."

Added Dr. Linn, "We are so pleased to be at TSNE. It's a wonderful
organization, and a great place to continue our work reclaiming
childhood from corporate marketers."

Fairplay, formerly known as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, educates the public about commercialism's impact on kids' wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing. Fairplay organizes parents to hold corporations accountable for their marketing practices, advocates for policies to protect kids, and works with parents and professionals to reduce children's screen time.