‘Damned’ to bow in USA

The controversial BBC telefilm “Damned in the USA” will make its American television debut on May 14 as an offering on the Playboy Channel.

Last year the film was the target of a suit filed by Rev. Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Assn., who had agreed to be interviewed by filmmakers Paul Yule and Jonathan Stack.

Wildmon attempted to stop the film from being shown in the U.S. by filing a $ 2 million suit against the BBC and the filmmakers, alleging that the contract he’d signed to do the interview had been violated.

It was his allegation that the filmmakers had to get his permission each time the film was shown.

The case was eventually thrown out and his subsequent appeal was struck down. In the interim, the 68-minute film has had limited theatrical showings across the country.

This cable premiere will be followed by a round-table discussion on “Violence and Morality: Obscenity, Hate Speech and the First Amendment.”

Taking part in the discussion will be John Frohnmayer, former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts; Martin Garbus, First Amendment attorney; Bruce Herschensohn, political commentator for KABC television and radio; Sheila Kuehl, activist from the California Women’s Law Center; David Llewellyn, founder and president of a group that believes there are moral standards that should regulate public and private life; and Carol Sobel, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. Cynthia McFadden of Courtroom TV will moderate.

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