Saturday, February 17, 2018
TV and Media

Bubba-MJ jury forewoman says verdict centered on First Amendment

As controversy swirled and media coverage exploded following the court verdict this week that shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem did not defame rival radio star Todd "MJ" Schnitt, jury forewoman Kristy Craig feared a lesson was being lost.

So she typed up an email to the Tampa Bay Times, eventually agreeing to become the first juror from the trial to speak on the record, stressing that a verdict for Clem did not equal an endorsement of the material on his show.

"I hated this case," wrote Craig, 36, of Tampa. " 'Hate' is not a word used often in my vocabulary, but I hated it. I hate the word 'whore.' I did not count (though, sitting through over 60 hours of testimony, I had plenty of time to), but I assume I heard the word 'whore' upwards of a hundred times. As a woman, I hate what it implies."

Her email continued: "(But) I love that I can hate the antics of Bubba the Love Sponge. I love that he can say all that sexist, worthless drivel to 400,000 radio listeners every day. I love that I can change the station."

For Craig, the two-week trial's verdict was centered on upholding the First Amendment, giving Clem the freedom to say some pretty awful things about his radio rival and his rival's wife. And anyone who objects can change the station.

But she was most disturbed by the material aired on both Schnitt's and Clem's shows that was presented to the jury, concerned that some might view the court verdict as a validation of the content on one program over another.

"I'm not a fan, to be honest, of either party," she said in a telephone interview. "Upholding the First Amendment doesn't mean we support Bubba the Love Sponge or his opinions in his show. For me, as a woman, it was important to make that clear."

Schnitt filed his lawsuit against Clem back in 2008, saying his rival made "false, highly offensive and defamatory statements" about him and his wife, Michelle, as competition heated up between the two on morning radio.

During the trial, Schnitt testified that fans of Clem's show, known as the Bubba Army, confronted him in public and raised fears for his safety. He also criticized Clem for calling his wife a whore, leading Clem's attorneys to play audio of Schnitt using similar terms about her on his radio show.

Craig said such material was an important turning point for her.

"Two were playing that game," she said. "That, for me, sealed the deal."

Reminded that an alternate juror said Schnitt should "put on his big-boy pants" and accept that criticism comes with his job, Craig offered her own version:

"I think they both need to put their big-boy pants on and find something valuable to talk about," she said. Later, she noted, "Nobody wants to sit around and listen to two men call each other names. I work with 12-year-olds; I do that with them and try to teach them better."

And Craig had a final conclusion, written as the last line in her email to the Times:

"I love that I have some awesome CDs in my car. I am never listening to the radio again."

Comments

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: PowerShares QQQ 300 qualifying9:30 a.m.FS1Xfinity: PowerShares QQQ 3002:30 p.m.FS1College baseballIllinois-Chicago vs. Southern3:30 p.m.MLBAlabama State vs. New Orleans7 p.m.MLBCollege basketballSMU at UCF11 a.m.ESPNUSyracuse at Mi...
Published: 02/16/18
What to watch this weekend: ‘Everything Sucks!’ on Netflix, ‘Wreck-It-Ralph,’ ‘Star Trek’

What to watch this weekend: ‘Everything Sucks!’ on Netflix, ‘Wreck-It-Ralph,’ ‘Star Trek’

1996 MISFITS: EVERYTHING SUCKSAdd this one to your list if you were alive in the 1990s. Even if you weren't in high school, it's sure to bring back memories of Fruitopia, Oasis, flannel shirts and Alanis Morissette. Everything Sucks is a quirky comin...
Published: 02/16/18
Disney World announces June opening date for Toy Story Land

Disney World announces June opening date for Toy Story Land

Get ready for a playdate with Andy's toys. Disney World just announced the opening date for Toy Story Land. The area in Disney's Hollywood Studios is set to open June 30, just in time for the busy summer season, The Orlando park announced Friday on ...
Published: 02/16/18
Angela Bassett gives a shoutout to her hometown of St. Petersburg on her new show ‘9-1-1’

Angela Bassett gives a shoutout to her hometown of St. Petersburg on her new show ‘9-1-1’

It's hard to keep up with St. Petersburg native Angela Bassett. She plays the queen of Wakanda and mother of the titular hero in probably the biggest movie of the year, Black Panther, which hits theaters this weekend, and is also promoting the upcomi...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Can-Am Duel7 p.m.FS1College basketballWomen: S. Illinois at UT-Martin5 p.m.ESPNUWomen: Purdue at Maryland6 p.m.Big TenWomen: Alabama at Tennessee6:30 p.m.SECPurdue at Wisconsin7 p.m.ESPNTemple at Wichita State7 p.m.ESPN2...
Published: 02/15/18
What if ‘Seinfeld’ was back on TV? 'It's possible,' teases Jerry Seinfeld

What if ‘Seinfeld’ was back on TV? 'It's possible,' teases Jerry Seinfeld

What if Seinfeld was back on TV in 2018 with new episodes and not reruns? What would it be like? Would Jerry get an iPad? Would Elaine use Tinder? “It’s possible,” responded Jerry Seinfeld to a question about a Seinfeld revival po...
Published: 02/14/18
Review: ‘Everything Sucks!’ pits A/V club freaks against drama club geeks in 1996-set teen drama

Review: ‘Everything Sucks!’ pits A/V club freaks against drama club geeks in 1996-set teen drama

Netflix's new series Everything Sucks!, well, doesn't.The nostalgic dramedy is set in 1996 and follows two groups of misfit teens as they navigate the awkward, the hormonal and the downright dull aspects of life in suburban Boring, Ore.It sounds a lo...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballUSF at UCF6 p.m.ESPNews; 820-AMIowa at Michigan6:30 p.m.Big TenClemson at Florida State7 p.m.Fox Sun; 1010-AMVirginia Tech at Duke7 p.m.ESPN2Kansas State at Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPNUMississippi State at Vanderbilt7 p.m.SECVilla...
Published: 02/13/18
Chris Rock's first stand-up special in 10 years comes out this week

Chris Rock's first stand-up special in 10 years comes out this week

After a long stint away, Chris Rock is coming home.On Wednesday, one decade after his last stand-up special, Kill the Messenger, Rock, one of the most acclaimed stand-up comics alive, will release a new Netflix production, shot at the Brooklyn Academ...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballGeorgetown at Butler6:30 p.m.CBSSNKansas at Iowa State7 p.m.ESPN2Oklahoma at Texas Tech7 p.m.ESPNTexas A&M at Missouri7 p.m.ESPNUBoston College at Pittsburgh7 p.m.ESPNewsArkansas at Mississippi7 p.m.SECMaryland at Nebraska7 p.m...
Published: 02/12/18