Watchdog Group Settles With WWE8 Jul, 2002 By: Hive News
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) has accepted a settlement in a lawsuit it brought against a parental watchdog group that linked WWE's programming to youngsters' violent deaths.
The lawsuit against the Parents Television Council (PTC), L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center (MRC) and others centered on statements PTC and its representatives made linking the deaths of four children to the WWE SmackDown! television program and on statements claiming that certain advertisers had stopped advertising on SmackDown.
WWE will receive $3.5 million and a series of non-monetary considerations, including a personal letter of apology from Bozell.
In his apology, Bozell admitted it was not fair to WWE to have passed on to advertisers unfounded accusations about the children's deaths.
“We based our statements on media reports and source information. We now believe, based on extensive investigation and facts which have come to light since making those statements, that it was wrong for MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and myself to have
said anything that could be construed as blaming WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the children,” Bozell's apology reads. “Simply put, it was premature to reach that conclusion when we did, and there is now ample evidence to show that conclusion was incorrect.”
Bozell even offered to meet with specific advertisers with whom he or members of his organizations met with or sent letters to regarding WWE to personally explain the basis of his letter of apology.
"We have always maintained that certain statements made about us by the PTC went beyond fair comment or criticism and were false, defamatory and very unfair," said Linda McMahon, WWE CEO. "We feel vindicated by this settlement."