The following is a petition expressing opposition to a
television series currently in development that will feature a family
from Appalachia transplanted to Beverly Hills, California. This
series, produced by CBS Entertainment, is being promoted as a "reality"
version of the 60s sitcom _The Beverly Hillbillies_, and is designed to
exploit negative stereotypes of Appalachians for entertainment purposes.
This petition explicitly proposes a boycott of CBS, its affiliates, and the
program's sponsors should the network decide to air the program.
If you are interested in adding your name to this petition, please send an
e-mail including your full name and address to me at
email@example.com. Only your
name and hometown will be used on the petition, which I intend to
forward to CBS and its local affiliates in the Appalachian region.
Michael H. Burchett
Mr. Leslie Moonves
President and CEO
CBS Television Network
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dear Mr. Moonves:
It has come to our attention that CBS is currently developing
a "reality-based" program modeled upon the 1960s situation comedy The
Beverly Hillbillies. We understand that this program will feature a
"multi-generational" family from Appalachia who will be placed in a mansion
in Beverly Hills, California and followed around the clock with video
cameras. We further understand that the producers of this program believe
that it will benefit Appalachians by inspiring sympathy and "respect" for
the subject family among viewers.
Despite the purported good intentions of the show's
producers, we believe that a program depicting the placement of a "typical"
Appalachian family in a radically different environment in order to derive
amusement and pathos from their efforts to adjust to that environment can
only serve to exacerbate and exploit existing negative stereotypes of
Appalachians for entertainment and profit. This belief is supported by
advance publicity for the program that portrays Appalachians as "rubes,"
"hicks," and "swing-from-the-trees hillbillies." The fact that one
of "those developing" the program is a former Appalachian resident does not serve
to mitigate the outrage that we feel at this blatantly discriminatory
treatment of the people and culture of the Appalachian region.
Therefore we, the undersigned, hereby announce our intentions
to boycott the CBS Television Network, its local affiliates, all media owned
and operated by its parent company (Westwood One, Inc.) and subsidiaries,
and the sponsors of the program in question, effective immediately upon the
initial airing of the program: