At Anti-Defamation League awards, NBC Universal’s Jeff Gaspin tells online users to put away their sharp knives

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NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin has his eye on you -- and he doesn’t like everything he sees.

For decades, the networks have been the ones coming into your living rooms via your TV set. Now you’re infiltrating their homes and offices too, thanks to the Internet. And apparently some of you are pretty cranky. You know those testy comments you’ve been slinging around? Tsk, tsk.

Gaspin was honored at the Anti-Defamation League’s Entertainment Industry Awards dinner in Beverly Hills on Thursday evening, and he took the opportunity to pull the public over for road rage on the information superhighway.

He bemoaned “a new world where you don’t have to look people in the eye when you speak to them ... a world where you can say the most hateful things -- true or untrue, fair or unfair -- under the cover of anonymity for all the world to see ...


“A lot of the journalism now covering the media industry has turned angry, with the proliferation

of blogs and websites devoted to our business. And it’s not just hateful stories, but the nameless postings that follow afterwards. They are often hurtful, dangerous and sometimes even destructive.”

Gaspin acknowledged that the problem is a sticky wicket, touching on “fundamental issues of free speech, something we revere in the creative community ... and, of course, as Americans.”

The dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel brought out a slew of NBC Universal stars, including host Howie Mandel; presenter Zach Levi of “Chuck”; and this year’s “America’s Got Talent” winner, Michael Grimm, who sang a couple of songs. Also walking the red carpet were “The Event” star Jason Ritter; Peter Gallagher; Mary McCormack; “Life’s” Sarah Shahi; Sendhil Ramamurthy of “Heroes”; the cast of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” which premieres Thursday; “Community’s” Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown; Daneel Harris of “One Tree Hill”; Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays. Also at the event were a number of natty suits -- Universal Studios President/COO Ron Meyer; Jeff Wachtel, president, original programming, USA Networks; and Lauren Zelaznick, president of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks.

So what do you think of Gaspin’s remarks? Do we all need to take a chill pill?

-- Irene Lacher