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I dance in my sleep, and fly; waking, I am clumsy and earthbound.
-- Juggler Vain

Art Bell Intimidates Montana Service Provider?

by El Snatcher

1999-07-18 20:34:27

Earth Changes TV is accusing talk show host Art Bell of intimidating Montana service provider Big Sky Network Technologies (bigsky.net) into canceling the account of one of his most vocal critics. This has allegedly been going on during Art's sympathetic coverage of the protest of the management takeover of free speech radio station KPFA in Berkeley. Is Art a big hypocrite?

The account that was canceled belonged to one of Art's most acerbic critics, Robert A. M. Stephens, who is famous for quipping at Art, and calling him names in posts to underground Web bulletin boards. Stephens is also the subject of a multi-million dollar defamation of character lawsuit filed by Art.

According to Mitch Battros, Producer of Earth Changes TV, a major reason that Big Sky deleted Stephens' account was the fear that Art would order his webmaster, Keith Rowland, to "mail bomb" them. As another form of pressure, Art's webmaster allegedly blocked Big Sky customers from accessing Art's popular Web site.

Art's Web site (www.artbell.com) is one of the top 100 visited sites on the Internet, and many of Big Sky's customers would surely have phoned customer service to complain about not having access to it. That could have been a major headache for Big Sky's support staff.

If Art is attacking his critics in this way, it seems hypocritical in light of his heavy coverage of the the recent protests against radio station KPFA's management, Pacifica.

Founded by pacifists after WWII, KPFA has been a sanctuary for alternative viewpoints, and a stronghold of free speech. Recently, KPFA's management has taken to firing members of the KPFA staff who criticize upper management on the air, prompting the protests.

In a show last week, Art compared himself to KPFA, saying that he and KPFA are "beacons of freedom."

Although Art denies pressuring service providers into dropping accounts, there have been many claims that Art has done so. The author of "The Mighty Tasty Art Bell Parody Pages" claims he was forced to move his Web site several times because Art kept having his accounts terminated. He even says that the ACLU has pledged to represent him in court if Art forces him to move again.

Stephens also claims that Art ran him off of other local Montana service providers.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

szithead@pigdog.org

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