---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 11:26:31 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Homer banned from public speaking
Homer banned from public speaking
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Saturday July 27, 2002
Homer Simpson, the benign patriarch of the best-known animated family in the
world, has become the centre of a censorship dispute between Rupert
Murdoch's television company, Fox, and the counter-culture comedian and
writer Paul Krassner.
Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer on The Simpsons, performed an
introduction for Krassner on a live comedy album, Irony Lives.
In Homer's voice, Castellaneta said his only problem with Krassner was that
he was an atheist. He asked: "If there is no God, then who has placed a pox
on me and mocks me every day?"
The album, which was due out this month, pokes fun at President Bush, the US
attorney general, John Ashcroft, and the "war on terrorism". But Fox's
lawyers stepped in and insisted that Homer's voice is part of their
intellectual property. After requesting seven copies of the CD they denied
In a counter move, Krassner has placed the introduction on his website,
paulkrassner.com. He has now had some 250,000 hits so the ban appears to be
garnering more publicity for the CD than Artemis, the company releasing the
album, would have been able to buy.
"Who ever thought that Homer Simpson would one day become an intellectual
property?" asked Krassner, who is completing a novel based on his friendship
with the late comedian Lenny Bruce.
During his days as editor of The Realist, often described as the first
underground magazine in the US, Krassner said he never asked for permission
for anything on the grounds that he had no assets and therefore was not
worth suing but Artemis feared a possibly damaging lawsuit from Fox.
The US ninth circuit court of appeal in San Francisco ruled this week that
the use of fictional characters enjoyed protection under the first amendment
when it found in favour of the band, Aqua, who made humorous reference to
Barbie dolls in a 1997 song.
Krassner and Fox crossed paths over censorship in 1999, when The Realist
publicised the removal of parts of The Simpsons that the Catholic League for
Religious and Civil Rights found offensive.
In one episode, Bart said to his mother: "Mom, can we go Catholic so we can
get communion wafers and booze?" His mother replied: "No one is going
Catholic. Three children is quite enough, thank you."
Fox declined to comment on the matter yesterday.
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