Frontier Communications employee shoves TV reporter, makes criminal threats

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The altercation between the employee and CBS reporter Greg Mills took place after about 100 Frontier customers joined a town hall meeting in Long Beach at the Expo Arts Center to express their frustrations to Melinda White, President of Frontier Communication’s West Region.

As Mills approached White as she was exiting the town hall to find out if she could address a few unanswered questions, another Frontier employee is seen pushing the reporter several times before grabbing him by his coat.

According to Mills, the employee then opened his coat to the reporter and pointed to his waistband to imply that he was armed. The employees actions in itself could be constituted as a criminal threat even if no weapon was seen.

California Penal Code section 422(a) states:

422. (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

All of this stems from a long and still ongoing battle after some Frontier customers were left without cable, internet, home phone and even 911 service shortly after the company finalized its acquisition of Verizon’s FiOS and DSL operations in California, Florida and Texas on April 1st, 2016.

Since April the Texas Public Utility Commission have received 150 complaints and according to the California Public Utilities Commission they have received 584 complaints. Although at this point its hard to gauge how many customers are truly affected by outages stemming from the acquisition, according to Frontier spokesman Peter DePasquale they represent less than 1% of its 3 million customers.

The Town Hall Meeting

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“In theory it was a good idea, get the cable company together with disgruntled customers but customers really wanted action, I got the impression that the cable company wasn’t all that intent on listening to they had to say” — Greg Mills CBS Los Angeles

According to NBC4 reporter Jane Yamamoto, Melinda White (Frontier’s West Region President) did not get a warm welcome, a reporter for the Long Beach Press Telegram described the meeting as rowdy with cheers and boos mixed in but to Frontier’s credit they did send about 2 dozen reps to meet with customers in a separate room although its unclear if any issues were resolved that day.

Throughout the meeting which reportedly lasted an hour, the company’s rep seemed cold and left many customers skeptical, just seconds to the altercation involving her employees with the TV reporter, she initially refused to talk to several reporters and instead told them “We have our media people and you can visit with them”.

So far the company has not publicly commented on the altercation with Greg Mills nor offered an apology but Melinda White did stop briefly stop to answer his questions afterwards, when asked if she thought the problems would be resolved, she responded “yes, absolutely”.

The Aftermath

Its clear that this acquisition was poorly planned on Frontier’s part but I have to wonder if the image of a cold, smug company Representative/President surrounded by thugs in suits making a criminal threat and pushing around reporters is an image they want to portray to the public at this juncture, I also wonder if they will threaten to pull ads from the station instead of apologizing to the reporter and looking into the actions of their employees including those of Melinda White.

Noticeably absent from all of this has been the company’s CEO Daniel J. McCarthy who has not made a personal attempt to reach out to customers. Other CEOs of major companies such as T-Mobile and Sprint often communicate with customers directly (despite all of their faults), so there is no valid excuse why McCarthy can’t do the same instead of hiding behind Spokespersons and Regional  Presidents.

I will try reaching out to this company myself to get answers regarding the conduct of their employees and I will update you if I get a reply.

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John Legere Gives Non-Answer to Question about T-Mobile Throttling YouTube Content then Follows it Up with a Profanity-Laden Tirade Against the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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The embattled CEO pretty much gave a non-sensible answer to a direct question about why he’s lowering the resolution of YouTube streams then went on a profanity laden tirade against the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Question #1:

“.@JohnLegere Does Binge On alter the video stream in any way, or just limit its bandwidth? #AskJohn” — Electronic Frontier Foundation

Answer:

“So what BingeOn does …it includes a proprietary technology and what the technology does is not only detect the video stream but select the appropriate bitrate to optimize to the video …their mobile device, that’s part A of my answer.

Part B of my answer is who the fuck are you anyway EFF? Why you stirring up so much trouble and who pays you?” — John Ledgere

 


 

Question #2:

@JohnLegere Why are you lowering the resolution of streams (YouTube) that are not part of the Binge On?” — @polo421 (Twitter)

Answer:

“Okay, good question

“Why you lowering the resolution streams that are not part of Binge On?”

Binge on is just not the 38 services that are streaming free, binge on is ability is stretch the use of your data bucket across all video streams and highly important are these other none free streams like YouTube that you talked about” — John Legere (Twitter)

 


 

Question #3:

“@JohnLegere I think the biggest question that needs answering is exactly what video optimization technology is being used for Binge On.” — Kevin Tofel (Twitter)

Answer:

“The biggest question… Why is that your biggest question?

What it is, is its video detection and its uhh… optimization of the video stream for mobile devices and by the way, its video that’s being optimized and the rest of your services work exactly the same.

And by the way, its fully at the customer’s control” — John Legere (Twitter)

 


 

Question #4:

“@JohnLegere I really like the idea of Binge On but it detracts from my experience with single-bitrate streams/downloads, can it be improved?” — @AvohkahTamer (Twitter)

Answer:

“I think that is a good question to close on I’m glad you like the idea and of course we’re going to constantly work to improve it. Lets keep this dialog going, we’re going to kind of finish this part. I am going to be on later and do a periscope and do some more Q&A but lets keep the dialog open. Of course we’ll work to improve it constantly.” — John Legere (Twitter)

He did answer a few other questions including one about porn but he continued to ignore my questions about the photo he tweeted of his chief lobbyist posing in a photo with an FCC commissioner at the consumer electronics show.

He ultimately ended the Q&A shortly after 1PM PT but stated that he would keep the conversation going. Its unclear if he will stand by his remarks about the EFF.

Update (8:33PM PT): It appears Legere walked back comments he made about the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier today

He also did a Periscope session later on where he said he would like to meet with the EFF.

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T-Mobile CEO calls Binge On critics “Jerks” during foul mouthed 3 minute video rant

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This Morning the CEO of T-Mobile released a 3 min videos in response to increasing criticism of how the company is handling data through it’s BingeOn program which it claims provides customers with ‘Unlimited Data’.

 

“…We give customers more choices and these jerks are complaining, who the hell do they think they are?” — John Legere

 

 

 

During the nearly 4 min rant which was posted on twitter and the company’s blog, he dismissed claims of throttling made by Google, The EFF and others as “Bullsh*t” and made vague claims to being a victim of “Groups out there” and “The big guy’s agenda” which is interesting considering that he recently tweeted a photo of his company’s chief lobbyist Kathleen Ham posing in a photo with FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, both were wearing T-Mobile’s trademarked magenta.

 

The interesting part of the press release is where he claims others are playing semantics while it appears hes doing the very same thing

“There are people out there saying we’re “throttling.” They’re playing semantics! Binge On does NOT permanently slow down data nor remove customer control. “T-Mobile Press Release

While he doesn’t categorically deny slowing it down his customers’ connections which could violate the FCC’s net neutrality rules, he added that they don’t do it “permanently”.

So far he’s ignored numerous questions from me about the Tweet, BingeOn and throttling YouTube videos (which isnt a BingeOn partner) but he promised to hold a #AskJohn Q&A session later today at 12PM PT/3PM ET.

You can read my previous article about T-Mobile and BingeOn below:

FCC commissioner poses with T-Mobile lobbist at CES amid calls for investigation into ‘BingeOn’ and net neutrality practices

 

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FCC commissioner poses with T-Mobile lobbist at CES amid calls for investigation into ‘BingeOn’ and net neutrality practices

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Earlier today T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere tweeted a photo of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wearing a magenta jacket posing with T-Mobile’s chief lobbyist Kathleen Ham who was also wearing a magenta Jacket which is T-Mobile’s trademarked color.

Interesting enough a federal judge recently ruled in T-Mobile favor and against AT&T and ordered the telecom giant stop using the color magenta or better yet Pantone 676C over fears that it might cause consumers to confuse the two companies.

So, was this just an unfortunate coincidence or a show of solidarity on the FCC commissioner’s part?

At this point so much is unknown but it does bring into question why the CEO of T-Mobile would find it necessary to tweet a photo of his chief lobbyist posing with a FCC commissioner on the heels of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ‘blasting’ the company over its practices with ‘Binge-On’ and calling for an FCC investigation over possible violations of the agency’s recent net neutrality rulings.

(BBC) In tests, the EFF found video download speeds were slower when Binge On was enabled

 

The EFF isn’t the only group accusing the telecom giant of scrupulous business practices when it comes to BingeOn which T-Mobile claims its offering ‘unlimited’ bandwidth to users on Hulu, NetFlix, HBO, Ustream, ESPN and others.

Recently Google accused the T-Mobile of throttling it’s parent company YouTube’s videos and lowering their resolution, even though Google/YouTube doesn’t agreement with T-Mobile and is not included with the Binge On lineup.

In response, an unnamed T-Mobile rep told DSLReports that “Using the term ‘throttle’ is misleading,”, the rep went on to say that they are ‘optimizing’ videos for mobile devices.

“We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is ‘mobile optimized’ or a less flattering ‘downgraded’ is also accurate.” — Unnamed T-Mobile Representative (DSLReports)

I did ask the CEO of T-Mobile and the FCC Commissioner via twitter to comment on our concerns about possible conflict of interest but so far they have not responded.

What remains to be seen is if T-Mobile is indeed violating the FCC’s net neutrality rules as articles by Consumerist, Slate and the BBC seem to suggest, if they will face any fines or other penalties from FCC.

Update (9:18PM): JohnLegere has since deleted his original tweet and re-posted it, we’ve updated the article to include the updated tweet.

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T-Mobile: Proud to rank 4th in 2015

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T-Mobile’s current CEO John Legere seemed surprised to have recently ranked the 4th most influential CEOs of 2015 on Twitter.

The often foul-mouthed CEO who recently got into an online fight with Donald Trump is reported to have made $29.2 million in 2013, earning more than the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T at that time but to his credit he did increase T-Mobile’s customer base from 33 million in 2012 to 61 million in 2015 and recently surpassed Sprint to become the 3rd largest carrier in the US since becoming CEO in 2012.

 

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