WASHINGTON (BP)–The Connecticut-based World Wrestling Federation is suing the Parents Television Council, accusing the family entertainment advocacy group of “tortuous and fraudulent activities.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York state, seeks unspecified damages and claims that the WWF “has been injured” by the PTC’s efforts to persuade businesses from not advertising on the “Smackdown!” wrestling program.
The 10-count complaint, filed in November, names as defendants PTC chairman L. Brent Bozell III, PTC Executive Director Mark Honig, the PTC and its parent organization, the Media Research Center.
The MRC is also the parent organization of CNSNews.com, which was founded by Bozell in 1998. The suit does not include any allegations against the news organization.
The WWF lawsuit also names as defendants “various John and Jane Does” who are members of the PTC’s Advisory Board. Among those on the board of the PTC is Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
Lieberman is not specifically named in the suit, but may be included by virtue of the complaint’s effort to name as defendants all board members who knew about what the WWF called “the unlawful conduct complained herein.”
In filing the complaint, attorney Jerry S. McDevitt accused Bozell and the PTC of “a consistent pattern of lies, self-concocted hoaxes, threats and intimidation,” against the WWF, charges Bozell has dismissed as “outrageous.”
The Parents Television Council, a non-partisan group that describes its mission as “bringing responsibility to the entertainment industry,” began an effort in 1999 to show that the WWF’s Smackdown! program is allegedly “the most ultra-violent, foul-mouthed, and sexually explicit show on prime time television,” a problem the PTC said is compounded by the fact that it is broadcast during a time when children are apt to be watching TV.
The PTC’s efforts include keeping track of corporations that advertise on the program and then alerting them to the specific content of the wrestling show. The group follows up by then asking advertisers to cease running commercials on the program.
Among the companies and organizations that have pledged not to advertise on the Smackdown! program are Coca-Cola, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, the U.S. Army, Procter and Gamble and a variety of other clothing, candy and consumer corporations, according to the PTC’s Internet website, http://www.parentstv.org.
Hogenson is the executive editor of CNSNews.com. Used by permission.