AS I SEE IT 5/30/2001
Thanks for the comments from many of you on the reprise of the Owen Hart column
It was also nice to see the Hart family on Monday's RAW to honor Stu Hart...even if Martha Hart can't find it in her heart to understand or accept family members having anything to do with Vince McMahon or the WWF.
Stampede Wrestling.com printed the following on May 30th:
" 'Tonight was a great night for the family,' said Ellie Hart. 'Burying the hatchet with Vince, having Chris pay tribute to Owen and Stu, for the first time it feels like we can get on with our lives. Bitterness has ripped our family apart the last two years. It's time we get past that, and handle the situation like adults. Vince didn't kill Owen. What happened was a terrible tragedy, and everyone is hurting from it. Hating each other for something neither of us wanted to happen is counterproductive. I'm glad we were able to do this, for all of us. I'm sure that Owen would be proud that my dad was honored for his passion for the business.'
'I think this was as important to Stu as anyone else,' commented Bruce. 'He has always contended that he doesn't have an axe to grind with Vince. Most of us in the family realize that what happened to Owen two years ago was an accident. We've had a relationship with the McMahons for fifty years, and it's best for everybody that we come together and look towards the future, instead of dwelling on one unforeseeable tragedy in the past.'"
Now on to this week's column.
There has finally been some movement on the WWFE, Inc. vs. Parents Television Council lawsuit.
In a press release issued on May 25th, WWF Entertainment announced that U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin has rejected the Parent Television Council's motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against them by the World Wrestling Federation.
WWF Entertainment, Inc. distributed the following press release:
"Judge rejects Parents Television Council motion to Dismiss Lawsuit
STAMFORD, Conn., May 24, 2001 A federal judge today rejected a motion by the Parents Television Council to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the PTC and others by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWF).
U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin in New York concluded that there was a sound legal basis for the WWFE suit and that it should go forward. 'Assuming, as I must, that the allegations of the Amended Complaint are true for purposes of this motion, I conclude that WWFE has stated claims upon which relief can be granted,' wrote Judge Chin.
WWFE sued the PTC in November 2000, charging PTC founder L. Brent Bozell III and others with, among other things, defamation, tortious interference with business relations and copyright infringement.
As part of these activities, the PTC claimed that 'WWF Smackdown!' could be linked to the deaths of four children, and that more than 30 to 40 advertisers had withdrawn their advertising from WWF SmackDown! The suit says the defendants made such false claims to WWFE advertisers in order to damage the company and, at the same time, raise money for themselves and promote their organization.
Judge Chin wrote that the PTC and the other defendants may not make false and defamatory statements under cover of the First Amendment. 'The First Amendment does not protect statements that are false and defamatory, even if they are made in the context of a public debate about issues of general concern,' he wrote."
The ruling by Judge Chin can be found in full at http://wwfecorpbiz.com/wwfe.pdf (readable only in Adobe Acrobat)
Chin's 36 page decision may have had something to do with the fact that the PTC website has recently been remarkably lacking in updates.
So could the continuing evidence that L. Brent Bozell and the Parents Television Council are quite bluntly, lying about many of their so-called supporters.
From January 1, 2001 until this past Monday's RAW, here are the statistics for how many shows on which advertising has actually aired by companies that the PTC has falsely claimed through press releases and various forms of public communication had "withdrawn from advertising on WWF programming":
ConAgra: RAW 18/Smackdown 17/Heat 10, in addition to sponsorship of this year's SummerSlam
1 800 CALL ATT: RAW 13/Smackdown 3/Heat 2
M&M/Mars: RAW 17/Smackdown 4/Heat 10, in addition to sponsorship of Wrestlemania 2001 (Snickers) and King of the Ring (Combos)
Burger King: RAW 12/Smackdown 1
US Army/other military agencies: RAW 4/Smackdown 6
This doesn't even count multiple advertisements on the same shows, as frequently occurs with ConAgra brands like Chef Boyardee and Slim Jim; or M&M/Mars brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Starburst, Twix, Uncle Ben's Rice, or Combos.
Yet if you go to this link, you'll see, in blithe denial of the truth, these companies still listed as companies that will not advertise on WWF programming.
Readers may wish to send a note to the WWF sponsors above falsely listed as having withdrawn advertising from WWFE programming. Thank them for their sponsorship, remind them that you watch WWFE programming; and notify the company that their names are being falsely used by the PTC as part of their propaganda campaign.
Suggest that each company (or their legal representative) sends a cease and desist letter to the PTC immediately, demanding their company's name be removed from any and all sections of the PTC website, and demand that a retraction be sent out in the next PTC E-Alert.
You might even wish to suggest that these companies consider filing legal complaints themselves, given that their own trademark is potentially being damaged by the actions of the PTC (read the text of the WWFE lawsuit for the legal definitions of such an action here.
Here is the contact information for those companies:
* M&M/Mars (M&Ms, Snickers, Starburst, Twix, Combos, Uncle Ben's Rice)
800 High Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Phone at (908) 852-1000, fax at (908) 850-2624 , or e-mail at Contact.Us@Mars.com
Since M&M/Mars certainly doesn't mind advertising on WWF programming and even sponsoring their PPVs, one would think that M&M/Mars would have a great concern about its corporate name being used falsely by a partisan organization, and being dragged through a civil trial, even if indirectly.
Contact through the feedback page.
* US Army
Office of the Chief of Public Affairs
1500 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-1500
* ConAgra (Chef Boyardee, Slim Jim)
Corporate Communications/Media - Karen Savinski (402) 595-5392
You can also contact ConAgra online via e-mail: at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via their feedback page at this link.
* Burger King
Mr. Stefan Bomhard, Senior Vice President of Marketing
17777 Old Cutler Road
Miami, FL 33157
In related news, Mick Foley did an six minute interview on the May 23 Today show with Katie Couric promoting Foley is Good. Among many other topics, Couric asked Foley about the Lionel Tate case. Foley made clear that the judge has prohibited the "wrestling defense", and that the WWF was not held responsible in any way.
This is just one of the interviews Foley has done with his second New York Times bestseller. In each case, he's brought up the PTC's campaign of corporate terrorism. This mainstream press has to be helpful in bringing out the truth about what L. Brent Bozell and his followers really did.
If you're interested in purchasing Foley is Good, it can be ordered through the following sources:
It can be ordered directly for $26.95 at WWF Shop Zone from this URL.
Amazon.com is selling the book for $21.56 at this URL.
Barnes And Noble is also selling the book for $21.56 at this URL.
It's also available at most local bookstores. Unlike the last time, when unprepared booksellers found that the demand exceeded supply for Foley's book; they are well prepared this go-around.
Along with extremist groups in the United States, there is the problem of government censorship of WWF programming...in Canada.
Wrestling Fans Against Censorship, a project of PWBTS.com, isn't the the only website to have brought up the issue of Canadian censorship of Monday Night RAW. Daniel Bradshaw of IOWrestling.com has been leading an effort to send e-mails to TSN regarding their editing of the show.
Below are the contacts provided for those of you in Canada to reach to allow you to get you RAW on TSN unfiltered and uncensored. Keep in mind that the situation will be exactly the same when TNN picks up WWF programming rights in Canada.
Here's some thoughts by Daniel Bradshaw:
"....The only way we can make sure it does reach the table is to make our views known continually without letup. This is where I am asking for help from all WWF fans in Canada who are tired of being forced to sit through a censored version on TSN of RAW is WAR. It may seem like a small thing to people who don't care at all, but it is a huge problem that could evolve into other popular areas of television shows you currently enjoy. Censorship is wrong, and needs to be stopped.
I still ask that every concerned fan continue to let the CRTC, the CAB and the CBSC know how you feel about the subject of censorship, even though they have proved they don't care how we feel. It's not in vain, and one day, it could possibly be the contributing factor in defeating censorship in Canada.
Here is the contact information you will need to reach the authorities in charge of regulating what we see on Canadian Television.
Here are the contacts for the CRTC for each province:
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0N2
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière/Central Building
1 Promenade du Portage, Hull, Quebec
Tel: (819) 997-0313/Fax: (819) 994-0218/TDD: (819) 994-0423
Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street, Suite 1007, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997/Fax: (902) 426-2721/TDD: (902) 426-6997
405 de Maisonneuve Boulevard East, Suite B2300, Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607/Fax: (514) 283-3689/TDD: (514) 283-8316
275 Portage Avenue, Suite 1810, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306/Fax: (204) 983-6317/TDD: (204) 983-8274
580 Hornby Street, Suite 530, Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111/Fax: (604) 666-8322/TDD: (604) 666-0778
55 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 624, Toronto, Ontario
Tel: (416) 952-9096
Cornwall Professional Building
2125 11th Avenue, Suite 103
Tel: (306) 780-3422
10405 Jasper Avenue, Suite 520
Tel: (780) 495-3224
This is the address to reach the CAB to complain about their support of an agency who supports and regulates censorship in this day and age, which is wrong:
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters
L'Association Canadienne des Radiodiffuseurs
P.O. Box 627, Stn. B
C.P. 627, Succ.B
Ottawa, Canada K1P 5S2
Tel/Tél.: (613) 233-4035
Fax/Téléc.: (613) 233-6961
This is the contact information for the Attorney General of Canada, who should be informed that we feel our rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights are being infringed upon by the CBSC and the CAB:
The Honourable Anne McLellan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8<
This is the contact information for the Heritage Minister of Canada, who should be informed that we feel our rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights are being infringed upon by the CBSC and the CAB:
Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Please remember that you need to state your opinion as professionally as possible. Failure to do so will result in non-action by these agencies and government officials. Without complete support from you the fans of the WWF Canada, this problem will never be solved, and the censoring will continue.
Thank-you for your continued support as we fight for our rights as Canadians to watch what we want, when we want, without being told we cant do so.
For those who might say that Canadians have the right to determine their own broadcast standards, I'd agree. Except for one simple fact: these standards aren't applied uniformly. Much like the PTC felt it could attack professional wrestling with impunity, it appears that the Canadian government and its agencies feel that it can do the same.
Witness some of the programming that appears opposite Monday Night RAW at 9:00 pm ET over the next two weeks, sampled off of the Toronto Sun's online listings, with the Sun providing information as to its content:
The Crow: Salvation - Adult language, adult situations, graphic violence
Island of Dreams - Adult language, nudity, strong sexual content
New Blood - Adult language, brief nudity, violence
One would assume that the graphic violence remains in these movies. Apparently this programming doesn't concern the powers that be with the Canadian government.
Even for the majority of readers that are from the United States, this ought to give you an indication of what can happen when government gets it hands on what you watch.
And what you need to do...
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)