July 07, 2010

AIM threatens to sue MTV

AIM Santa Barbara has sent a letter via certified mail to Philippe P. Dauman, President & CEO of Viacom, the parent company of MTV. The subject, of course, was The Dudesons in America--specifically episode #2, Cowboys & Findians. Here's the heart of the letter:

Well, MTV--we guess, we might just see you in Federal Court....We have asked you repeatedly to cease these actions, and to remove the aforementioned episode of The Dudesons in America from the airwaves. We have asked you to remove this episode from public view, in all forms of media, whether (a) by television broadcast, (b) Internet, or (c) any other means by which it can be viewed by the public. We have also asked that MTV, Viacom, and the producers of The Dudesons in America offer an apology to Native Americans for the offensive, discriminatory, and oppressive nature of this episode; you have failed and refused to do so.

Your refusal to honor our requests leaves us with no alternative but to seek any and all available legal remedies in Federal Court.

Your actions are clearly an act of conspiracy intended to violate the Civil Rights of American citizens purely based on their race. This constitutes a criminal violation of 18 USC 241, in addition to other civil violations.

We are once again demanding the following:

1. That you permanently remove the aforementioned episode of The Dudesons in America, in the manner more fully set forth above; and

2. That you tender a public apology to Native Americans.

If we have not secured your written agreement to the foregoing demands within ten (10) days from the receipt of this letter, please be advised that we will begin legal action in Federal Court.
A commenter on Facebook adds another rationale for the lawsuit:The "Cowboys and Findians" episode of the Dudesons is in Direct violation for the First Article of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, The Bad Man Act! On June 30, 1980, The US Supreme Court declared this Treaty as valid as the US Constitution, in compliance with the 6th Amendment. Our ceremonies (rites of passages, in this case) are Our Way of Life and not a religion, as white men see it. It is Native American property protected by U.S. law and United Nation declaration.Comment:  I have mixed feelings about this action. On the one hand, I wish AIM well and hope MTV accedes to their demands. On the other hand, lawsuits of this type almost never work.

I doubt AIM can make a case unless they point to the specific harm this episode caused. Not "stereotyping hurts us in general," for example, but "citing the Dudesons, Mrs. White forced little Johnny Wolf to sit in the corner and wear a headdress." Otherwise, a court will be reluctant to curb MTV's right to free speech.

I admire AIM's tenacity. But as bad as the Dudesons episode was, I don't think it should dominate our time and energy. There are many things worth protesting: Chief Wahoo and other mascots, the Last Airbender movie, the Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson play, the Irish showband called The Indians, the Custer re-enactor at the veterans powwow, the savage Maori in The Wives of Henry Oades, the lack of minority characters in DC Comics, and on and on. You can argue about the relative importance of these, but there's no way the Dudesons episode is more important than every other stereotype problem combined.

For more on the subject, see Anti-Dudesons Protest at MTV Awards and MTV vs. AIM on The Dudesons.


dmarks said...

I dislike the Dudeson's episode, but I also dislike AIM's attempt at filing a frivolous lawsuit to try to get the government to censor the episode. Due to dislike of frivolous lawsuits, and of censorship.

Support AIM said...

Apathy seems to be your answer to everything dmarks. Why not apply the word frivilous to wars, violence, police harrassment and brutality etc,.?

When Cobell asked some serious and legitimate questions to the US Government regarding the handling and accountability of royalties due Natives from oil, gas, timber, and the many other "profitable" resources corporate America drains the earth and environment, she was given no answers, but she was blatantly told, "well, then sue us!"

And so she did!

And although many lawsuits are deemed a waste of money and time, many lawsuits also bring attention to just and long ignored causes and issues.

You seem to like burying your head in the sand and hope someone or something will rescue you or change the world dmarks with you on the sidelines. Silence is what keeps man from evolving into the future and keeps his crimes and primitive thinking intact!

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmarks said...

Support said: "Apathy seems to be your answer to everything dmarks"

Actually, I support the protest, speak out, and boycott methods. None of these are apathy, and as Rob has documented, these can be quite effective.

"Why not apply the word frivilous to wars, violence, police harrassment and brutality etc,.?"

If we are discussing those, yes. But here we are discussing a baseless lawsuit being used to try to get the government to censor someone.

And one of these involve censorship, or clogging the courts with frivolous lawsuits, as the "solution" in the original post does.

"but she was blatantly told, "well, then sue us!" And so she did!"

And this is very different. A legitimate use of the court over an actual material matter, without intent to deprive someone of their First Amendment rights. Big difference.

Back to the frivolous/abusive lawsuits:

"And although many lawsuits are deemed a waste of money and time, many lawsuits also bring attention to just and long ignored causes and issues."

Arghhhh. frivolous lawsuits as a PR tactic? More abuse of the court system.

"You seem to like burying your head in the sand..."

No. I merely support using legitimate ways to speak out against these atrocious stereotypes. Not violations of basic Constitutional rights, and not abuse of stretched taxpayer dollars in putting a silly case into the court system... not because it has a chance of winning, but for PR purposes.

Anonymous said...

Well I feel that AIM Santa Barbara should be the chaper to be sued since they have mentioned and used images of the actor in the show when they promised him that they would not mention his name and they have CONTINUED TO DO SO...so they lied to the actor that their only mission was to boycott MTV and their sponsors.

If ONLY they could have used all of their time & energy that they have wasted with this MTV stuff and focused it on more important matters that our reservations are facing today. I have not seen any of them visiting our reservations and helping out with the "real" problems. They would rather try to bring down one of our own (an elder) because they did not like his participation in this show. It is TV people...Would you rather Hollywood cast NON Natives to play Native roles???? Go back to the old ways when they would use Italian men to play Native chiefs?

I doubt that...if Hollywood goes back to that way, that would be another thing you will be boycotting about!

So stop using the actors name and image because he may be the person who should file a suit against you, AIM Santa Barbara for using his name/image!!!!!!

Your main agenda has been more personal to bringing this person down!

How could you be good role models for our youth when they see you bringing down an elder just because you did not agree with him. Shame on you AIM SB..Your chapter should be shut down!

Anonymous said...

its comedy! it was basically INVENTED to take a piss on everything. do you see mexicans or africans or jews filing a lawsuit for every joke made on tv?? plus the dudesons didnt even make fun of indians. humorless cunts!