World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. settled a defamation suit against
conservative TV critic Brent Bozell III and two of his advocacy groups,
collecting $3.5 million and an apology.
Bozell and his two groups, the Parents Television Council and the Media
Research Center, have long criticized WWE -- particularly its weekly United
Paramount Network show, SmackDown! -- for raunchiness.
In particular, Bozell has said the WWE was partly to blame for children who
died when other kids performed 'wrestling moves' -- a defense that most
prominently popped up in the case of a Florida boy, Lionel Tate, who killed the
six-year-old daughter of a family friend.
Bozell pressured advertisers to stop buying commercials on SmackDown!.
WWE successfully countered that SmackDown! wasn't even on the air when
the murder occurred and that the judge in the case dismissed the wrestling ties,
saying Tate simply stomped the girl to death.
'It's not very often do you, in a settlement, get money like this,' WWE
chairman Linda McMahon said. 'You can't sit by while someone is libeling
As part of the settlement, Bozell issued an apology that, among other things,
admitted that he and the PTC exaggerated the number of companies that had pulled
ads from SmackDown!, claiming withdrawals from companies that 'had never,
in fact, advertised on SmackDown! nor had any plan to advertise on
Smackdown!. Again, we regret this error and retract any such misleading
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