Friday, February 03, 2012

Save the breasteses!

From Erin Gloria Ryan on Jezebel today:

Breaking News: Komen Reverses Decision on Planned Parenthood Funding, Is Still Likely Full of Shit

After public outcry, irreparable brand damage, and some embarrassing executive doubletalk, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has just announced that they're reinstating funding to Planned Parenthood. But don't think for a second that this means they're free from a political agenda.

The organization released the following statement:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
That's all well and good, but they're still lying. Although they've restored funding to Planned Parenthood, they've only done it after a category 5 shitstorm threatened to completely taint the brand. They're not sorry they pulled funding to satisfy a political vendetta; they're sorry they got called out on it, and I'm not sure that their brand isn't already tainted.

Komen blatantly, obviously, and deliberately targeted Planned Parenthood. Their board room is still staffed with conservative donors and at least one vocal anti-choice politician. They're still a conservative political organization masquerading as a feel-goodery for people who just want to help cure cancer.

Women aren't stupid, though, despite the fact that the Komen foundation seems to think we are. Supporters of the organization are owed much more than a statement about how "hurt" Nancy Brinker and company are by the accusations that they're a political organization. They're owed evidence that Komen hasn't already evolved into a political instrument.

And no such evidence exists.

And more from Ms. Ryan, at Jezebel:

An Accounting of Komen’s Impressive Financial Hypocrisy

Sweet jiggling breasts, has Susan G. Komen for the Cure ever painted itself into a corner. When they first announced their decision to revoke funding from Planned Parenthood, they said it was because they had a rule against giving money to organizations that were under investigation. But they give money to organizations that are under investigation all the damn time. And they certainly don't have any trouble taking money from companies that are under investigation. Let's take a tour of their hypocrisy, shall we?

Susan G. Komen For The Cure CEO Nancy Brinker has spent the last 48 hours embarking on a bizarrely prim damage control tour wherein she folds her hands in her lap and tells reporters that when they said they were stopping the flow of funds to Planned Parenthood because of a rule (that was definitely not just made up by Karen Handel so that they'd have an excuse to stop funding Planned Parenthood), what they meant was they were just trying to streamline the process and I guess that whole first press release about how they were following a rule was maybe not intended to be a factual statement. But regardless, let's take a moment to examine how, if the Handel Rule actually exists, it's been completely non-enforced.

Let's first turn to Penn State, recipient of a 5-year, $7.5 million grant courtesy of Komen. Mother Jones found that a grant was awarded to the institution in 2008, before the 2011 establishment of a rule that declares that Komen will no longer be donating funds to organizations under investigation at the local, state, or federal level. Since the federal government is currently investigating Penn State for its institutional role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, if the "Handel Rule" were being applied uniformly, monies to Penn State's affiliated hospital should be suspended until the investigation's completion. But cash still flows to Happy Valley.

According to the charity's website, in the last year, Komen's given quite a few grants to quite a few hospitals and medical schools associated with quite a few investigations.
  • They've given a grant to researchers at the University of Kansas, even though the director of the lab at the school's medical center was recently under investigation.
  • Funds haven't been interrupted to the University of Texas at Austin, even though a currently pending lawsuit alleges that the school is discriminatory against Asians.
  • Boston's Dana-Faber Cancer Institute is named in the investigation into the death of a former employee who ingested cyanide. Would that pass Handel Rule muster?
  • Komen's also given a grant to the University of Texas Southwestern's medical center, which was under investigation at both the state and federal level as recently as last summer.
  • An organ donation center managed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, another Komen grant recipient, is currently under investigation for having an improper financial relationship with a vendor.
  • They've given money to Duke University's Medical Center, even though Duke's under investigation for Title IX violations.
  • A grant to the University of California at San Diego's Medical School flowed through uninterrupted, even though last summer, a recreational fencing coach there was investigated for sexual assault. (If an individual is under investigation, does that mean the entire organization should be treated as though it's under investigation? Best err on the side of caution!)
  • Money's still going to the University of California at San Francisco, even though a seat belt-less shuttle bus led to the death of a professor last summer.
  • And protesters who claim they were wrongly treated at the University of California-Berkeley are suing the school, which is still receiving money from Komen. Shall I go on?
And Komen's supposedly high minded (and patently false) claim that they won't give grants to organizations that are under investigation of course doesn't apply to money flowing into the organization.
  • They get money from Quilted Northern, which is owned by the Koch Brothers, who have gotten in trouble with doing secret business with Iran.
  • They're got a big hard on for Bank of America, Public Enemy Number 1 when it comes to fucking over the American consumer in all colors of the rainbow (especially pink!).
  • Just a couple of months ago big Komen supporter Merck was forced to pay almost $1 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed the drug Vioxx.
  • Another big Komen donor is 3M which just was forced to pay $3 million to settle an age discrimination suit.
  • Pink pimper Oracle was investigated last summer for violating antibribery laws while doing business in Africa.
  • Just a couple of weeks ago, Federal safety regulators began investigating claims that Komen corporate buddy KitchenAid was making dishwashers that light stuff on fire.
Komen also gladly accepts money given by Ford, American Airlines, Key Bank, and Microsoft — all of which were recently under investigation. Talk about inconsistant principles.

And yet, Nancy Brinker continues her confusing damage control tour as though it will be a piece of cake to convince a skeptical public that Susan G. Komen For the Cure is not completely full of it, when it's clear that not only did they defund Planned Parenthood because of Karen Handel's rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood agenda, but they also lied about it, twice.

They lied when they said that they cut Planned Parenthood out because of a rule— because they don't follow that rule in any case but the case of Planned Parenthood. And they didn't stop funding Planned Parenthood because of "streamlining," because they should have foreseen that the public backlash at the family planning provider's defunding would have resulted in untenable backlash. The conservative leadership of Susan G. Komen for the Cure severely underestimated their supporters— just because they're women who are fine with decking themselves out in pink feather boas doesn't mean they're stupid and gullible.

Maybe it would be best, for the time being, for Nancy Brinker and the rest of the Komen leadership shut up, regroup, and speak publicly again when they've got their story straight.


Marie said...

So much information has come out over the past few days about SVK that I cannot imagine they can spin their image. From their suing groups that use the word "Cure" to the extraordinarily high salary of their founder, people are realizing that maybe their money is spent better elsewhere.

Not that I don't think running an organization of this type and size doesn't involve a TON of work, but usually charities don't pay in the half million range. Plus "bonus".

Georgette said...

Agreed, agreed!!!

I have a dear dear friend currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I am so torn. I want to love any organization that helps fight this awful disease (my parents died of cancer though two other types) but at the same time, SVK looks pretty crappy for a variety of reasons.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Yeah, I did a 5k walk for them once, but never again. The PP thing is bad enough but I was really turned off when I found out that they spend a few million dollars of donations every year to sue other charities for using the color pink or "for a cure".

Plus, at the race it was all really commercialized with sponsers trying to sell you sh1t like Komen credit cards etc. Boo!

Marie said...

I also automatically support this type of thing - one of my best friends lost her mother to breast cancer when we were seniors in college; as we grew up together, it was a hard loss. I tried to support the SVK because, honestly, one of their best features was that they made it easy to do so. There were lots of little ways that you could feel like you're helping. (Hey, I BUY YOGURT TOO - I'VE HELPED). So, in that sense, they did a very good job.

Now I think it'll either be American Cancer Society, PP, or local smaller orgs for me. Oh, and the MSPCA, but only if Sarah McLaughlin agrees to some sort of truce on the emotional warfare.

Georgette said...

OMG yes, I wanted a cat and dog SO BADLY over the holidays because of Ms. McLaughlin!

SavageKitsune said...

The level of hue and cry over this has been truly amazing!