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
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
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