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Charity Turns Away Corporate Grant After Threat to End Support

A Seattle charity last week turned down an $18,000 grant from Comcast after a cable company representative threatened to pull its grant to the nonprofit over a single tweet.

A Comcast employee threatened to stop supporting Reel Grrls, a Seattle group that helps teenage girls make films, after the charity used Twitter to criticize the company’s controversial decision to hire a former Federal Communications Commission commissioner.

The cable company later told The Washington Post the threat was not sanctioned and that the money was never actually in jeopardy. But on Friday, Reel Grrls issued a statement saying it wouldn’t accept the money on the grounds that it believes Comcast was trying to “stifle public discussion.”

The controversy started when Reel Grrls, a Seattle group that helps teenage girls make films, posted the following to its Twitter feed: “OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? http://su.pr/1trT4z #mediajustice.”

In an e-mail to Reel Grrls, Steve Kipp, a vice president of communications for Comcast in Lynnwood, Wash., then threatened to revoke a pledge it had made to give $18,000 to the group.

Comcast later said that Mr. Kipp’s response wasn’t approved.

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