So Anne Finn, PR Manager for The Onion kept her word, and did respond to my friend Michelle Alswager’s request of helping to sponsor Jessepalooza. I’ll let you read the following and then you can tell me what you think.
On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM, Michelle Alswager wrote:
Hi, Anne. Kelly Kunik asked that I forward this email to you. I agree with you that all of your articles are in good fun - this one struck a cord with many of us. Especially so soon after the death of many children due to diabetes as of late - it’s been all over the news, apparently you missed it. One of the deaths was my son. Who loved your newspaper. Please read below - I think it really would go a long way if you got involved in our event.
Forwarded email sent:
Date: Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM
Subject: Story on children with diabetes dying
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Hello. I'm not writing to you to attack you on the story you recently did poking fun at Jay Cutler and by doing so, throwing kids under the bus who have type 1 diabetes. To be honest, my son Jesse LOVED the Onion. He read it all the time and commented on it. Nothing offended him. In fact, I'm not sure this article would offend him - but I can't ask him - because he died on 2/3/10 from type 1 diabetes.
I know you are supposed to be funny - I get it. But there is a very loud community out there letting you have it on facebook & on blogs. While I understand you didn't mean to personally offend such a large community, I agree that making jokes about kids dying is never funny.
I have a suggestion - you can take it or leave it I guess, but I think you could make a big difference in our community by donating to something very personal to many people. Since my son died in February (Jesse Alswager) my family and friends - and complete strangers - have done a lot in his memory. And I am sad to say there are many more kids dying as teens right now with a newly identified "Dead In Bed" Syndrome. Nothing funny about that. Parents are scared. My family has always been a lot of fun and we stay positive. In Jesse' honor each year we hold something called "Jessepalooza". You can see what it was all about last year at www.jessepalooza.org. This year - in 2011- we have added a new component by adding a 30, 60 and 100K metric century cycling event.
If you would consider sponsoring the event on some level, it might calm the community. It’s just an idea to show that you did it in fun, and that a mom who recently lost her son is willing to shake it off.
Thanks for reading,
Here’s the response Michelle got back:
I'm sorry for the loss of your son. While a sponsorship to "Jessepalooza" will not be possible, if you ever decide to host an auction, we would be happy to donate an item to help raise awareness and funds for research and treatment.
Thank you for all the good work that you do,
After receiving the email exchange in my inbox, all I kept thinking was: REALLY? "I'm sorry for the loss of your son? But we can’t sponsor Jessepalooza in anyway shape, or form? Bite me!" FYI: The auction item she refers to is a signed book from The Onion Staff. Which most likely would have been sign by the idiot who wrote the offending post in the first place!
To The Onion staff, you had such a great opportunity to make things right and really help a wonderful cause and make things right.
But instead, YOU BLEW IT!
PS: If you'd like to tell Anne Finn how your feel, feel free to email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org