In a bold move, Bay County Health Director, Dr. Jason Newsom recently included shots fired directly at Dunkin Donuts in the rotation of the regular rotating messages on the digital billboard in front of the Bay County Health Department. The digital billboard flashes in rotation a number of “health-messages” that often chime in to the tune of “french fries = thunder thighs” or specifically what the Health Director came under fire about, “Dunkin Donuts = death”, and “Dunkin = diabetes”.
In a letter to Dr. Jason Newsom, Commissioner Mike Thomas requested Dr. Newsom’s resignation citing that this was not the only time his messages were too edgy. No complaints had been made on the Dunkin Donuts message, but many complaints had been made in the past to County Commissioners.
The frankness of the messages exceeds the tolerance of many in the public, and although I can understand, sympathize and even endorse a consistent message conveying good health habits, I would think naming businesses directly would be counter-productive as to the purpose of the messaging to begin with. Surely there could be a better way to convey a healthy message other than to say “fries = thunder thighs“; try “apple = healthy heart“. Maybe conveying a positive message could be more productive and less criticized.
I don’t know Dr. Newsom, nor have I followed his actions as Bay County Public Health Director, but I would think it irresponsible as a public official to participate in slander on a business.
This particular incident fired up Commissioner Mike Thomas because of the use of the name Dunkin Donuts, which is slated to open in the next 30 days at Back Beach Road and the newly renamed R Jackson Blvd. Thomas cites that the use of a business name could put Bay County at risk of lawsuit. I think the message is short-sighted and irrisponsible and agree with Thomas that Dr. Newsom should have the sense to not single out a business in his “public-health” messages. I don’t know that I would call for his resignation, but this clearly shows a lack of capable discernment and emulates poor judgement.
On a side note, although I think donuts are delicious, they are terrible for you.
What do you think?
Edited 5/11/09: Dr. Jason Newsom offered his resignation Friday and is no longer the Director of Public Health for Bay County.Print Story