Follow Up On Tough Love Rape Stance

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If you've been living under a rock and somehow missed the slimy activities going on with Steve Ward and VH1's Tough Love show, Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick brings you up to date on the stink.

It starts here, with Giving Steve Ward & VH1 Some Tough Love Of My Own, continues with More On Moron Steve Ward & The Rape Issue & Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop, and, frustrated with all that, I then directed you to contact the producers etc.

I’ve been contacting them all, one by one, and thought you might be interested in my progress…

First I contacted Flower Films, the commercial film production company founded by Drew Barrymore & Nancy Juvonen which is a partner in Tough Love’s production. If you thought for just one moment that being “woman owned” would make the company receptive to this issue of blaming women for rape you’d be dead wrong.

During a phone conversation last week, with a woman who refused to give her name, I was told that “all complaints/comments are to be posted to VH1’s blog.” When I explained that this had been done, but Ward was only continuing his misogynistic statements, I was told, “We read the blogs, we are aware.” I’ll admit, that set me back a bit, so I countered with a, “Don’t you wish to make a public statement to at least clarify Flower Films’ views — to separate them from those of Ward?” Her reply was to say that there would be “no statement on the subject” and I was dismissed.

Can you feel my hackles rise?

Grrrr.

Next I contacted the other production partner in the making of the show, High Noon Entertainment “one of America’s largest creators of unscripted television.”

There I spoke with Paul Taylor, Executive In Charge Of Production, who began by plainly & dismissively informing me that they had “been in touch with their legal department and they were protected.” Because, you know, the litigious are all they ought to be worried about.

I countered by restating my concerns for the perpetuation of misogynistic rape mythology; he countered with, “Well, you know, VH1 is a controversial network…”

So profiting from dangerous myth-information is a-OK?

Ready to spew (both anger and vomit), I thought about High Noon Entertainment’s primary concern regarding legal action… They have a legal team & they know how to use it — which is not the case for victims of rape. That smug “been in touch with legal & we’re protected” line…

Well, if that was their line then I was going to jerk it.

So I told Mr. Taylor that next on my list was to inform those involved in the federal lawsuit regarding trademark infringement, trademark dilution and related claims against MTV Networks, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and High Noon Entertainment based on the unauthorized use of the trademark “Tough Love,” of which Toughlove America is the exclusive licensee. (See details here.) He interrupted, countering with noise about how unfounded the lawsuit was — so I interrupted right back with an, “Oh, given that the lawsuit expressly states a desire to collect damages for the harm being done to their brand by the show’s use of the name, I imagine that they’d be interested to know just how many of us are now associating the phrase “tough love” with blaming rape victims.”

Now I had more of Paul’s attention. He wasn’t quite conceding anything, mind you, but he was now actively asking questions, such as my name, my telephone number, and the name and location of this blog. (I cooperated fully — and I totally welcome any further contact, should it occur.)

Feeling that perhaps he had moved past the party-line deafness and that he might just hear me now, I reiterated my concerns about Ward’s statements especially in light of the interviews Ward has done. In the interviews since the show aired and we responded, he’s defending his beliefs, not budging an inch; antagonizing, not apologizing.

Either Taylor began to hear my concerns or he’s just really good at the old “neutralize a complainer by being a good listener” thing because we ended the call with Taylor informing me that he would share my concerns but, due to a staff wedding that week, I likely wouldn’t hear from anyone until this week.

Not that I’m holding my breath.

But I will call back, Mr. Taylor, to see just what High Noon Entertainment intends to do about this mess Steve Ward has gotten them into.

And when I do, I’ll share it with you. As I will all my contact with those involved with this issue.

Now I have to go puke. Again.

© Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick, "A protective layer between you & your relationship stink."

 

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