Jack Thompson To Viacom: Fire Stern, I'll Leave You Alone
Noveber 15, 2004
Coral Gables-based attorney/indecency crusader Jack Thompson has an offer for Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone - get rid of Howard Stern and the indecency watchdog will go away.
"I have only one request, only one requirement, and it must be done quickly," said Thompson in a letter to Redstone. "Fire Howard Stern. Terminate him now, and I go away. You know you can terminate him right now for his ongoing promotion, on the air, of his upcoming Sirius program. What he did in that regard yesterday on your air is beyond belief. You can dump him right now for that alone. Everyone knows he’s been warned not to do that. Pull the trigger. Fire him. That gives you a 2-for-1 deal. You get rid of Stern and you get rid of Jack Thompson. I’ll be much more of a pain than Howard Stern ever was. It’s my job."
Thompson began his letter to Redstone, saying he would "like to settle my dispute arising out of Infinity’s illegal airing of the [Howard Stern Show]," before proceeding to state that he intends "to bring a civil action arising from the negligent supervision of the Viacom board in its failure to assure that the Howard Stern Show not libel people, not incite death threats against people, and, most importantly, not air indecent material."
Thompson warned Redstone that "negligent supervision" by the Viacom board in this matter would "allow me to play for a jury the indecent material as aired, with Viacom’s permission, to children around the country. This will then, because of the negligent supervision issue, turn a Florida courtroom into Viacom’s worst nightmare—the state equivalent of the FCC. And I must tell you that in this 'red state,' even 'blue' voters/jurors are closer to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps when it comes to companies mentally molesting minors for money."
Thompson added that he has a "stable of experts who have testified before Congress as to the harm done to children by violent and/or pornographic material" that are "itching to testify against Howard Stern and those at [Viacom] who allowed him for years to do what he has done."
"Viacom can get me off its back very simply or my intent is to proceed as outlined above," said Thompson, before offering Redstone the "2-for-1 deal" of firing Stern in return for his dropping threats of civil action.
Thompson has filed a dozen complaints with the FCC regarding content broadcast on the Howard Stern Show since he returned to the airwaves in South Florida on Beasley Broadcasting's WQAM-AM/Miami. The most recent was over The Howard Stern Amputee Beauty Contest. Thompson said in his complaint that "this was so far over the line that the content constitutes not just 'indecency' but also 'profanity' as that legal term of art is used in such regulatory matters. Howard Stern is too dumb to understand the difference, but you all and I do."
Oddly enough though, Thompson doesn't agree with Saul Levine's petition for the FCC to enforce indecency regulations on satellite radio. "If we have indecency on the public airwaves, why would we then leapfrog and go to subscription services and start enforcing indecency standards when they are by-and-large not enforced aggressively enough for most of us on the public airwaves," Thompson told FMQB. "The public airwaves are a totally different animal."