Last week I posted a YouTube video of GEICO's R. Lee Ermey going after President Obama during Roe & Roeper's Miracle on Indianapolis Blvd. Holiday Extravaganza broadcast. The event raised funds for the USO and when Ermey appeared to make a pitch on behalf of Toys for Tots he launched his attack claiming the President was destroying the country in an attempt to introduce socialism.
Since I uploaded the video it has received over 435,000 hits and 4,000 comments. As should have been expected, there was a strong reaction from both the left and right. Many on the right applauded Ermey for "speaking the truth," while my brothers and sisters on the left (this is a progressive blog after all) criticized him for politicizing an event meant to raise money for the USO as he made an appeal for Toys for Tots.
Additionally, many folks took GEICO to task for not distancing itself from Ermey after it fired voice over artist D.C. Douglas for leaving a voicemail with Freedomworks critical of the tea party.
On Monday Ermey did the honorable thing, apologized and posted it on his website "My comments were misguided, and emotionally based, and for that I am truly sorry."
Ermey deserved the criticism he received for his outburst but I believe his apology should be taken at face value and accepted.
Is/should all be forgiven?
No, but he should be afforded the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of those he offended. Once someone makes a mistake and gets called on it he can pushback against the criticism, claim he was misquoted or just apologize.
Ermey apologized and sadly, in today's polarized politically charged environment, that doesn't happen enough.
Ermey's actions and statements going forward should dictate our long term impression of him, not this one incident. The jury is still out but it should be noted that he has previously defended Obama against the birthers.
Now that Ermey has acted what will GEICO do? What should they do? Personally, rather than firing Ermey I'd like to see them give D.C. Douglas his job back.
Ermey's full statement:
A Message from the GunnyWindy City Watch friends who helped drive this story
"I recently appeared at a fundraising event designed to collect toys and raise awareness for underprivileged children. While that event succeeded in raising thousands of dollars and hundreds of toys for this cause, I regret that I delivered a monologue that was inappropriately critical of the President. I was trying to be entertaining and simply went too far in this instance. I am mindful that my success as an entertainer relates in part to my experience in the Marine Corps, my devotion to its members, and the deep respect I have for members of all our Armed Forces. My comments should not be seen as reflecting on them or their views. I was just very disappointed in the amount of success that we were having raising toys and money for the underprivileged children this season. The poor economy has greatly hampered our efforts. My comments were misguided, and emotionally based, and for that I am truly sorry."
R. Lee Ermey
Karoli via Crooks and Liars: GEICO's R. Lee Ermey Uses a Toys4Tots/USO Event to Slam Obama
Dave von Ebers via the corner tavern: A tale of two Americans
GottaLaff via The Political Carnival: GEICO’s R. Lee Ermey, appearing on behalf of Toys 4 Tots & USO, slams President Obama
sdpdx via Twitter