No, it wasn’t the guy who does the Geico gecko voice.
Lance Baxter, better known as D.C. Douglas, is the voice-over actor who does the outros for Geico commercials. Or more accurately, was. Geico recently canned his ass because of a voicemail he left- as one conservative blogger so succintly put it, ‘stupidly’ using “his highly recognizable voice”- with a group called FreedomWorks. Baxter/Douglas’ voicemail was described by the HuffPo:
Douglas asked FreedomWorks in his voicemail what “the percentage of people that are mentally retarded who are working for FreedomWorks and who are following it,” or as he has since put it, he “inquired as to their intelligence level.”
In the voicemail, Douglas also questions how FreedomWorks will “spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering if you’ve got a PR spinning routine planned for that or are you just gonna take it when it happens.”
Rather unfortunately for Baxter, his most identifying feature is probably his voice. Not long after he left the voicemail, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe posted on BigGovernment.com (the site best known for their misleading exposé of ACORN) urging tea partiers to call Geico and threaten to switch car insurance providers. The planned outcry worked, and Baxter commented in a press release:
“I called as a private citizen to make a complaint,” explains Mr. Douglas. “Racism and homophobia are my Achilles heal, but unfortunately my message included inappropriate words and I am sorry for that. However, telling their members to harass my employer to get me fired is an egregiously disproportionate response to my actions.”
Mr. Douglas believes his connection to GEICO, a company already on FreedomWorks’ boycott list for pulling their ads from Glenn Beck’s show, is the main reason he was targeted so forcefully. “Even though I left the message during the week of March 23, the harassing calls didn’t hit until April 14, the morning after I posted about my GEICO campaign on my Facebook page.”
Baxter goes on to say:
“We can’t let these kinds of tactics become the norm in our country. If we do, then anybody can lose their job just for voicing an opinion.”
You can read more from Baxter on the events surrounding the voicemail controversy here. What do you think? Is it fair to fire an employee for their own political beliefs exercised on their own time? Is this an example of voting with your dollars? Is it ironic that a group calling themselves FreedomWorks is working so hard to ensure people don’t have the freedom to speak?