SHowing Animals Respect and KindnessSHARK
NEWS RELEASE Mar. 2, 2010
Contact: Stuart Chaifetz (856) 428 2635 Media@sharkonline.org
CLEAR CHANNEL KILLS ANTI-PIGEON SHOOT BILLBOARD THE DAY IT IS TO GO UP
REASON GIVEN? TO PROTECT PA ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM CORBETT!
SHARK Calls for Independent Investigation into Possible Unethical Behavior
On Feb. 9, 2010, SHARK signed a contract with Clear Channel Outdoor for a billboard to be placed on Route 95 in Philadelphia, starting the week of March 15. We paid the full amount, $2,626, up front, and everything was set to go
There were no signs whatsoever that Clear Channel had any problems with the billboard (the billboard only has a picture of a bloody feather, and a website: www.PAshame.com). In fact, on Feb. 23, SHARK signed a new contract with the company, as a billboard placement spot had opened up earlier and we were able to get that starting the week of March 1.
We even promoted the billboard at our press conference, held on Feb. 24, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, which was covered state wide in newspapers and on TV. The press conference focused on the horrors of two pigeon shoots that had happened the weekend before, and that we were asking Governor Rendell and Attorney General Corbett to take action.
We were shocked when we received an email on March 1, the very day the billboard was to go up, from Clear Channel saying that they were pulling the billboard because of "content on the website."
"I knew immediately that there was something bigger going on here," states Stuart Chaifetz, SHARK Media Coordinator. "They had this billboard for weeks and never said a word, then suddenly there is a problem with content on the website? And it just happens that they didn't realize there was a problem until after we hold a successful press conference which put the spotlight on the Attorney General? I put a call into the President of the company, to find out what was really going on.
"On March 1, at 1:04 PM, I received a call back from George Kauker, President of the Philadelphia Division of Clear Channel. He told me that he was personally rejecting the site based on "copy," which he said was allowable under the contract. I returned that there is no copy on the billboard, just a website address. When pressed, he then admitted that the real reason why he killed the billboard was because he felt the website was an attack against Attorney General Tom Corbett.
"I asked him if he had actually seen the website, because there are no attacks against the Attorney General on PAshame.com. All there is is a letter asking Mr. Corbett to use his authority to stop what we believe are illegal pigeon shoots, and information on how people can contact him and ask him to take action. That's it. But he didn't care. He said he would not allow it and that was that.
"My personal opinion is that the anger expressed by Mr. Kauker was unwarranted and had no proportional relation to our business deal. That he had no idea what was actually on the site leads me to believe that someone had read him the riot act about this billboard, and that he was then taking it out on us. I am just thankful that he was honest and upfront and admitted that this was all about protecting the Attorney General."
These are the facts of the case:
· Clear Channel approved our billboard, and received payment for it in early February. · The very day before the press conference, a new contract was signed with Clear Channel to get the billboard out earlier. · A few days after the press conference, when the Attorney General took some heat in the media, the President of Clear Channel Philadelphia personally kills the billboard. · Mr. Kauker admits that he was breaking the contract in order to protect the Attorney General. · The Attorney General is running for Governor. It is possible that he or his allies would be concerned that an issue as emotional as live pigeon shoots could cause him political harm.
Serious questions remain about whether Mr. Kauker was truly acting on his own volition, or if he had been asked to break the contract from either Mr. Corbett, someone in the Attorney General's office, someone from Mr. Corbett's campaign for Governor, or some other political figure.
"As we are now witnessing in New York - how powerful politicians use their authority for personal reasons - it is not impossible that some one in Pennsylvania used their power to stop this legal transaction," states Chaifetz. "This is why we need an independent investigation. Mr. Kauker should be put under oath and let's find out if there is corruption behind this."
SHARK will be sending a letter to the Attorney General asking him to assign an independent prosecutor to look into this. If he refuses, we will then take this to the U.S. Attorney. This violation of free speech, and violation of good faith business arrangement, cannot stand unopposed.
Please visit PAshame.com and forward it to all you know!
This is what the billboard was to be:
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