Christian right activist warns he'll sue over b'casts
Closing his letter to Viacom attorneys with “MTV’s corporate pollution must stop – or else,” attorney and Christian right activist Jack Thompson threatened Monday to organize a boycott against the conglom in an effort to get the cabler to “clean up its (MTV) broadcasts and stop mentally molesting an entire generation.”Thompson, who is perhaps best known for getting an album by rap group 2 Live Crew declared obscene by a Florida state court in 1988, said his boycott will include urging local cable companies to pull MTV from their channel lineups. Viewers harmed He said he will also file lawsuits against Viacom on behalf of people who have been harmed by the channel’s images, which he says routinely engage in the “objectification of women.” Thompson claimed the channel engages in “illegal as well as tortious dissemination of musical/visual toxic waste to America’s children” and said “real victims do exist.” He said he will also target the cable channel’s advertisers by urging his followers not to purchase the company’s products. Thompson, who was also among the outraged when Warner Bros. Records released “Cop Killer,” a song by rapper Ice-T, is credited with helping to persuade the board of directors of Time Warner to pull the rapper’s album “Body Count” from distribution. To press his concerns over MTV’s programming directly to Viacom shareholders, Thompson is working to get on the agenda of the conglom’s annual stockholders meeting. That meeting is set for May 21, but Viacom execs said the Dec. 13 deadline for getting matters placed on the agenda has passed. Thompson is the latest voice to deride the music industry for distributing objectionable material. Former secretary of education William Bennett, who now heads Empower America, recently blasted MCA for its purchase of half of Interscope Records and for objectionable content in albums from its rap artists. He was instrumental last year in getting Time Warner to divest itself of the tony label. Not just ‘moral suasion’ But Thompson said Monday his efforts will be more successful and pointed than Bennett’s “moral suasion.” He said Bennett’s efforts are “little more than quaint unless it is backed up with a credible threat to do harm to those who would harm innocent third parties with the kind of stuff that regularly appears on MTV.” He pointed to the recent boycott of Texaco orchestrated by the Rev. Jesse Jackson that resulted in the manufacturer agreeing to make changes in the way it deals with minority employees as more indicative of the type of protest he will wage. (Earlier this month, Texaco asserted the boycott had no impact on its bottom line). But “I have a better track record than (Jackson) in this regard,” he said. “Not because I am more eloquent – surely I am not – but because I have based (my) actions upon Biblical principles, and (Jackson) bases his upon leftist social gospel. … “Viacom can either clean up its MTV broadcasts and stop mentally molesting an entire generation which has caused compensable harm to identifiable third parties,” Thompson said, “or it can unwittingly prove the Biblical truth that those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.” Viacom execs declined to comment.