Video: Did GEICO fire spokesman for criticizing Obama?

posted at 11:21 am on August 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

By coincidence, I just happened to be watching Full Metal Jacket when I read this post from Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters.  R. Lee Ermey, who delivered a masterful — and mostly improvised — performance as a Vietnam-era Marine Corps drill instructor in the film has built an impressive career with his tough-as-nails persona, including a memorable GEICO commercial as a less-than-sympathetic counselor.  TMZ caught up with Ermey at an airport, and he says that GEICO fired him shortly afterward for criticizing Barack Obama:

After being asked about his GEICO commercial wherein he played a psychiatrist calling his patient a “jackwagon,” Ermey said, “GEICO fired me because I had, I wasn’t too kind about speaking with the, about the administration, so the present administration. So they fired me.”

“So they fired you because of political reasons?” asked the TMZ representative.

“Yeah,” Ermey answered. “If you’re a conservative in this town, you better watch out.”

Noel dug up what appears to have been the issue for GEICO:

R. LEE ERMEY: I got to tell you, folks, we’re having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up, and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing, because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And I’m sick and damn tired of it, and I know you are too. But I know the Marine Corps is going to be here forever – this administration won’t. Semper Fi. God bless you all.

Hey, it’s GEICO’s money, and they can hire or fire whomever they want as their spokespeople.  But I don’t think it’s going to look very good to have dumped Ermey for speaking his mind on politics, in an obviously passionate but hardly objectionable manner.  The ad he cut, which Noel has on his site, was hilarious, and had some potential for a series of ads that would certainly have been no less entertaining than pigs that go “Wheeeeee.”

How much do you want to bet that Ermey got fired by phone rather than in person?

Update: To be fair, commenters remind me that they fired the voice of the gecko, too, over his political expression.  In that case, though, it was significantly weirder and targeted at potential customers rather than a politician.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

I can’t help thinking to me Flo looks like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka character’s twin sister.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka character always remined me of Carol Burnett…….

SailorMark on August 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka character always remined me of Carol Burnett…….

SailorMark on August 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Really? I don’t see that – but then my wife doesn’t see my comparison either – and I’ve never seen the movie, just the ads.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Isn’t GEICO corporation owned by Government Motors? I suppose that they have to fire someone who criticizes the person who owns them…

Glad that I don’t have insurance with GEICO.

DrUrchin on August 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

How exactly did they “fire” Ermey? He was in a single ad as part of GEICO’s “rhetorical questions” ad campaign. The only recurring actor in that series is Mike McGlone.

Caiwyn on August 27, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Isn’t GEICO corporation owned by Government Motors? I suppose that they have to fire someone who criticizes the person who owns them…

Glad that I don’t have insurance with GEICO.

DrUrchin on August 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

More like Berkshire Hathaway. Or better yet… Warren Buffet.

bbordwell on August 27, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Isn’t GEICO corporation owned by Government Motors? I suppose that they have to fire someone who criticizes the person who owns them…

Glad that I don’t have insurance with GEICO.

DrUrchin on August 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

It’s worse than that…it is owned by Warren Buffet.

oceansidecon on August 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Isn’t GEICO corporation owned by Government Motors? I suppose that they have to fire someone who criticizes the person who owns them…

Glad that I don’t have insurance with GEICO.

DrUrchin on August 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

GEICO is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. — Warren Buffet’s investment company.

Caiwyn on August 27, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Maybe they just thought his work sucked. Nah, it was Obama’s fault. Next scoop – The connection between Obamacare and the Lindberg baby

plewis on August 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

To be fair, Geico fired their gecko voice impersonator for his anti-tea party rant.. sometime last year, I think.

Intrepid767 on August 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I agree. I love Ermey, but Geico is in business to make money, and alienating potential customers at either end of the political spectrum doesn’t help. Ermey doesn’t need Geico. He has plenty of gigs.

Finbar on August 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I agree that Geico can fire anyone they want to avoid alienating customers. However, what DC Douglas did was much worse than what Ermey did. He phoned a private organization up and called all the private citizens who are members retarded killers. Ermey criticized an elected official in fairly mild terms.

Ermey is hilarious, and it would probably help Geico to use him again, but if they want to be dumb, that’s their loss.

juliesa on August 27, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Don’t miss R. Lee Ermey’s Trigger The Vote video.

Socratease on August 27, 2012 at 2:31 PM

I agree. I love Ermey, but Geico is in business to make money, and alienating potential customers at either end of the political spectrum doesn’t help. Ermey doesn’t need Geico. He has plenty of gigs.

Finbar on August 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

They certainly alienated me. I would quit them, but I already did back when they pulled advertising from Glenn Beck. I’m currently with Allstate.

claudius on August 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Well forgive me if I didn’t remember all the exact details. We can’t all be perfect like you.

Intrepid767 on August 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yet – you felt compelled to opine anyway.

Wasn’t trying to be too snarky – but Google is a wonderful thing. It took me 17 seconds to confirm that.

CycloneCDB on August 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Nahhhh…. it was because they knew he was gonna do THIS commercial!

I got a good chuckle out of this, especially after everyone ran for the other computers when he asked if they were registered. :D

TASS71 on August 27, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Where is Ermey employed? Some states like California prohibit an employer from firing an employee based on their political views. I wonder if the state law governing Ermey’s employment has a similar prohibition?

ieplaya on August 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Conservatives are always victims. The media is after them, Hollywood is after them, the pollsters are after them. Stop whining about everybody and everything.

StoneKrab on August 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I guess it’s back to driving without insurance for me!

V-rod on August 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Well forgive me if I didn’t remember all the exact details. We can’t all be perfect like you.

Intrepid767 on August 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Yet – you felt compelled to opine anyway.

Wasn’t trying to be too snarky – but Google is a wonderful thing. It took me 17 seconds to confirm that.

CycloneCDB on August 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Ouch! That wasn’t a bag of hammers, it was a SNARKY bag of hammers…

“Well played, Mauer…”

And R. Lee Ermey should have won Best Supporting Actor honors, like Robrt Duvall should have won in Apocalypse Now…

“Charlie don’t surf!”

Khun Joe on August 28, 2012 at 4:31 PM

So GEICO is owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway?

Will Obowma tell Buffet he didn’t build that company? Will he tell that to Bill Gates?

dthorny on August 28, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Comment pages: 1 2