On Sunday, NBC News published an opinion piece attacking iconic country singer and actress Dolly Parton for a Super Bowl ad featuring her, accusing her of “welcoming an influx of filthy lucre” while arguing that her voice was being used to “promote the false virtues of working overtime.” The article triggered harsh criticism on social media.
Opinion | Kim Kelly: As much as we all love Dolly Parton, it’s still disappointing to hear her literally sing the praises of “working, working, working.” https://t.co/RjA0CzdpmT – @NBCNewsTHINK
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 8, 2021
Writer Kim Kelly started by opining, “One of the higher-profile ads is a ‘reimagining’ of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ commissioned by website builder Squarespace. Sadly, this tone-deaf misstep from the beloved icon may be the biggest upset of the day.”
After remarking that “Parton is also a shark in the boardroom. She outfoxed the hapless Nashville, Tennessee, power brokers who once tried to control her career and has since built herself an empire” while also noting her history as a philanthropist, Kelly said of the ad, “Parton had made a rare miscalculation. Rather than paying homage to the spirit of the original song, which made no bones about the exploitative nature of the daily grind, the commercial for Squarespace features a tinny ode to the side hustle. Its office workers are portrayed as being overjoyed to continue working after hours, their side hustles are painted as freeing, fun and fulfilling, and the song itself encourages them to ‘be your own boss, climb your own ladder. It’s a perfect storm of gig economy propaganda.’”
Kelly continued, “Now, Parton’s silvery voice is being used to promote the false virtues of working overtime … it’s so disappointing to read the lyrics to this new song and hear her literally sing the praises of ‘working, working, working.’ It’s not ‘fun’ or ‘empowering’ to juggle multiple jobs; it’s an indictment of a system in which people aren’t paid fairly and workers are squeezed down to the last drop of energy.”
Kelly concluded, “And as much as we all love Parton, she’s still a capitalist and still a very, very rich woman; she has a vested interest in boosting her public profile, and Squarespace surely paid dearly for the privilege of borrowing some of her sparkle. Parton doesn’t need the money herself, but between funding her philanthropic efforts, supporting her family and local community and expanding her empire, I can see her welcoming an influx of filthy lucre. The reality is that it made good business sense, and she’s always been a shrewd businesswoman. As Dolly Parton herself once said, ‘It’s a rich man’s game,’ and it looks like she’s still in it to win it.”
Social media ripped the article with comments like these:
Columnist Derek Hunter: “Yeah, hard work never got anyone anywhere.”
Yeah, hard work never got anyone anywhere. https://t.co/WRnbDOREtZ
— Reverend Doctor Jill Biden Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) February 8, 2021
Kira Davis of RedState: “Only a writer would actually say something like this out loud and expect it to be consumed as intelligent discourse. We like to write about real life, but living it can be a challenge for some in our profession.”
Only a writer would actually say something like this out loud and expect it to be consumed as intelligent discourse. We like to write about real life, but living it can be a challenge for some in our profession. https://t.co/cHnkg6yHTz
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) February 8, 2021
The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard: “Some are desperate for work, and NBC goes here … and slaps Dolly, too …”
Some a desperate for work, and NBC goes here…and slaps Dolly too… https://t.co/1BbNL2kB2f
— Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) February 8, 2021
Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports: “Ah yes… the shameful sin of … working.”
Ah yes, the shameful sin of…working https://t.co/zIv6RolDwD
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 8, 2021
Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein: “First, some of us love what we do. If you don’t, there are organizations full of jobs for you. Try the DMV. And second, leave Dolly Parton alone. She’s a national treasure.”
First, some of us love what we do. If you don’t, there are organizations full of jobs for you. Try the DMV.
And second, leave Dolly Parton alone. She’s a national treasure. https://t.co/pwzALCVB3b
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKlein) February 8, 2021
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