Friday, 9 December 2005

Jerry Springer, Again

From Equity (the British Actors' Union):
You may have read in the press that both Sainsbury’s and Woolworths have withdrawn from sale DVDs of Jerry Springer - The Opera after receiving complaints from the public. This is the same production of Jerry Springer - The Opera which was subject to protests when the BBC screened it.

When Equity approached the two companies, Sainsbury's press office said that they had received around 20 complaints but Woolworths would not reveal the number of complaints it had received other than to say it was "substantial".

Equity is very concerned about the action of the two companies and General Secretary Christine Payne has issued the following statement:

"Equity is opposed to the action which Woolworths and Sainsbury's have taken on two grounds. Firstly, Equity strongly supports artistic freedom and equally strong opposes censorship in all its forms, however offended any individual may feel themselves to be by a particular piece of dramatic art.

“Secondly, Equity members derive income from the sales of recorded material, including DVDs, and so stand to lose income from actions such as these.

"Equity is inviting all of its members to make their views known to Sainsbury’s and Woolworths about these acts of censorship."

If you wish to contact Sainsbury's with your views you can visit and complete an e-mailable form or call their general enquiry line on 0800 636 262.

If you wish to contact Woolworths you can send an e-mail to or call the company's headquarters on 020 7262 1222.

Or you can wirte to the CEO of Sainsbury's:
Justin King
c/o Sainsbury’s
33 Holborn
London EC1N 2HT

A few email addresses: (CEO) but his emails are handled by a Contact Centre (Chairman) (Director of Customer Marketing) (Head of General Merchandising i.e. non-food) (Director of Trading) (Head of Customer Service)

(Thanks to Liam for the names.)

from a friend of mine:.

I have just called Sainsbury's. A civilised guy told me that they had been inundated with calls protesting about their decision.

I rang Wooolworths and got the security man! so will contact them tomorrow.

Second Update
From another friend, an email from Sainsbury's in response to his complaint (emphasis added):

------ Forwarded Message
Date: 8 Dec 2005 20:51:34 +0000
To: [...]
Subject: RE: Other Questions

Dear S,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I am very sorry that you are unhappy with our decision to stop selling Jerry Springer, The Opera on DVD.

Please let me assure you that we would never wish to cause offence to any of our customers. As a retailer, we feel we should offer our customers a choice of what to buy. We monitor all feedback about the products on sale in our stores and I can confirm that we are no longer selling Jerry Springer, The Opera.
Thank you again for letting us know how you feel. We are committed to getting things right for our customers and I do hope I have been able to offer you some assurance.

Kind regards,

Sainsbury's Customer Services

Third Update
From Woolworth's in (rather irrelevant) response to my complaint ("I am not impressed by your decision to pander to an extremist minority but deciding to stop stock DVDs of Jerry Springer the Opera. I like to be regarded as a responsible individual who can make his own decision and choices. Why should you and these people do that for me?
Another decision has been forced upon me in this occasion: that of taking my custom elsewhere..."):

Dear Sir / Madam

Woolworths is guided by legislation and regulatory bodies on what it can and cannot sell in its stores.

Our decisions to sell products are based on customer demand.

The product is not currently available in stores, however should a customer wish to purchase it, it is available from our website -


Woolworths Plc

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  1. all for freedom of speach, but dont you think you are caused distress and suffering to the poor people who have to answer all your bombarded emails at woolies and sainsbury,s, how would you like to feel responsible for the guy who has gone home under great stress because he cant answer all your queries and questions and then takes it out on his wife and kids. Think about the poor person who you are bombarding with emails and phonecalls give em a break guys

  2. Thanks for you comment, Anon.

    I could simply say that we did not start this but that it is the fault of those who complained in the first place...

    However, I think that responding to cutsomers' comments is these people's job and they should be used to dealing with this and certainly not be taking it on their family if they get stressed (they should certainly consider changing job if it is so, as I am sure they see much worse). As long as our comments remain courtuous, I don't see anything wrong with making them.

    Finally, the irrelevant cut and paste response from Woolworth (a friend received exactly the same) proves clearly, I think, that we get more stressed over this than the companies and their employees...


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