Last Updated Apr 21, 2010 4:49 PM EDT
These dueling voicemails are interesting given that high-profile advertising figures struck by scandal usually hide and then perform a ritual apology. Geico took the traditional route: It fired Lance Baxter, who did the Don LaFontaine spots. (He is not the voice of the gecko, unfortunately.) Baxter, however, has decided to fight fire with fire -- on YouTube.
On March 23, Baxter (sometimes known as D.C. Douglas), left a voicemail at FreedomWorks, which coordinates some Tea Party activities, asking how many of their employees were "mentally retarded" and whether they had a PR plan in place for "when one of your members does actually kill somebody."
Baxter admitted on his blog the voicemail was "stupid," but said he was enraged by Tea Party activists who shouted homophobic slurs at Democratic Rep. Barney Frank.
FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe responded by figuring out that Baxter was employed by Geico and publishing the voicemail on his blog. He then asking Tea Party supporters to call Baxter at home to "Let them know that you, in fact, are not a mentally retarded killer."
Baxter taped the calls he received and compiled them into a YouTube video:
He also put out a press release that said:
... telling their members to harass my employer to get me fired is an egregiously disproportionate response to my actions.Both sides are claiming victim status, which makes this only a "fight" in the most passive-aggressive sense. Who wins depends on who you believe is most righteously angered.
Note that the video shows off Baxter's voiceover skills -- he's available!