Friends of Sharpton

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The Chrysler contest is being closely monitored by activists including Al Sharpton and his Madison Ave. Initiative and Jesse Jackson. Rev. Sharpton-who said he learned about the review by reading Advertising Age-has met with Chrysler executives twice and spoke to them several times on the phone. The meetings have been described as amicable.

"This is important to us at Madison Ave. Initiative from the standpoint that we want to see fairness, people not excluded because of race, and people selected because they can do the best job," he said.

But for Mr. Sharpton, the review mixes personal and business matters.

He is a close friend of both Steve Stoute and Peter Arnell of PASS and Don Coleman of GlobalHue. Rev Sharpton attended Mr. Coleman's invitation-only birthday bash on Jan. 10 in Southfield, Mich. And Mr. Arnell, co-owner of PASS, bought several tables at a recent fundraiser for Rev. Sharpton's National Action Network.

Rev. Sharpton insists that personal ties will not get in the way of his unbiased oversight of the review. "So far it appears that it has been a fair process. It could end up being the kind of thing that others in the industry can look at and emulate. But it's not over till it's over."

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