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Guy Adams, Brit Journalist, Has Twitter Account Suspended for Criticizing NBC Olympics Coverage

Guy Adams
Guy Adams

Because of our mutual interest in Scientology, Guy Adams and I have come to know each other in recent months. He's the Los Angeles-based reporter for the UK publication The Independent, and lately he's been taking aim at NBC's problems covering the London games.

But he really ran into trouble when he dared to criticize NBC on Twitter.

Yesterday, Twitter suspended his account, @guyadams, after he tweeted this:

The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

Adams tells me he's still trying to get to the bottom of why his account was suspended, but at this point it looks like NBC filed a complaint with Twitter for publishing Zenkel's e-mail address and Twitter agreed that Adams' tweet violated its policy against posting someone's "private information."

But Adams points out that Zenkel's corporate e-mail address is anything but private.

"I didn't publish a private email address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google, and is identical to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share. It's no more 'private' than the address I'm emailing you from right now," Adams wrote to Twitter's head of European PR, Rachel Bremer.

In his Independent piece, Adams noted that #NBCFail was trending over the weekend after the network broadcast Friday night's opening ceremony on a delay and with significant edits:

While Kobe Bryant and other big names in US sport were completing a 98 to 71-point victory, viewers of American network NBC were forced to watch edited highlights of a women's cycling race that had been completed several hours earlier.

It was the latest in a string of mis-takes by the broadcaster, whose coverage is sparking ridicule from TV critics and outrage from the US public. For most of the weekend, the phrase "NBC Fail" was trending on Twitter.

The broadcaster's nadir, however, perhaps occurred during the opening ceremony, which it refused to allow Americans to watch live.

When the event was screened, hours later, large portions were edited out to allow more time for commercial breaks. Yesterday, opening ceremony choreographer Akram Khan declared himself "horrified" that NBC had even decided to cut the event's tribute to victims of the 7/7 bombings.

And here's Adams' complete e-mail to Bremer:

Hi Rachel

They've dealt with this (see below). Would you mind if I give you a quick call to discuss? I'm of course happy to abide by Twitter's rules, now and forever. But I don't see how I broke them in this case: I didn't publish a private email address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google, and is identical to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share.

It's no more "private" than the address I'm emailing you from right now.

Either way, quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journliasts who are critical of their Olympic coverage.

Am I to presume, for example, that they decided to complain about me because of my recent article in the Indy's news page about their various failures? (see link)

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/as-america-succeeds-at-the-games-back-home-all-the-talk-is-about-nbcfail-7986147.html

And if so, isn't it a bit rum that they succeed in shutting down my account?

Either way, thanks for expediting all of this.

Yours &c

Guy

As John Koblin just pointed out over at Deadspin, Twitter and NBC are in bed together when it comes to this Olympics. He posted this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article:

Twitter's Olympics hub, part of a partnership between the San Francisco company and Comcast Corp.'s CMCSA +0.05% NBCUniversal that will be announced as early as Monday, is one of the first times Twitter will serve as an official narrator for a live event. NBC will tout the website with on-air promotions and links to athlete interviews or video clips.

And Koblin had the rest of Guy's tweets leading up the one that got him suspended:

guyadams Guy Adams Am I alone in wondering why NBColympics think its acceptable to pretend this road race is being broadcast live?

guyadams Guy Adams According to NBC's commentary team, the Surrey countryside is full of "chateaus" #ffs!

guyadams Guy Adams Matt Lauer: "Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies." #tosspot

guyadams Guy Adams Matt Lauer would do well to shut up, wouldn't he? 3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams Techcrunch call @NBColympics total buffoons http://t.co/1DYypK0T Sums up why Gary Zenkel, moronic exec behind the time delay, shd be fired

guyadams Guy Adams If only someone had invented a technology to help us actually see this. Oh, wait... MT @NBCOlympics: Muhammad Ali is one of the flag bearers

guyadams Guy Adams "Sneak peak" my arse MT @NBCOlympics: Check out this sneak peek of tonight's #OpeningCeremony http://t.co/vf7KKMf9 3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams Say "up yours" to @nbcolympics and watch that opening ceremony here MT @edfcarrasco: we got what the people want: http://t.co/IB5epHmx 3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams America's left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj 4 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams I have 1000 channels on my TV. Not one will be showing the Olympics opening ceremony live. Because NBC are utter, utter bastards. 4 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

Oh boy. Will be looking for more info on this as we get it.


UPDATE: And here's Guy's piece about his suspension at the Independent site.


UPDATE: As John Koblin points out, Sports Illustrated got an admission from NBC that they did, indeed make the complaint to Twitter that shut down Guy's feed:

FROM AN NBC SPORTS SPOKESPERSON:

"We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline."

Wow, that's cowardly, NBC.


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