The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Wendy McCaw, Owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press. She gets the award for the following.
The owner of Santa Barbara County's largest daily paper accuses a hair stylist of defamation and orders him to take down a sign bearing her name.Ms. McCaw feels the first ammendment only applies to her. She's worried about "hatred, contempt and ridicule" from one sign in a barber shop. Then there is also this case. This isn't about a sign, but a rich bully who tries to intimidate or threaten anyone who displeases or threatens her. Will people like this ever learn? McCaw has money but not much brainpower apparently. Her suits, threatened or filed, are drawing Ms. McCaw much more publicity for her bully tactics than if she had just ignored them. Anyone remember this Knucklehead?
Matt Cota is live with the latest controversy surrounding the Santa Barbara News-Press.
Eric Zahm thought he was just exercising his first amendment right. But after being threatened with legal action by the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, he's not so sure anymore.
The offending sign says "McCaw Obey the Law." Wendy McCaw is the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press. The people who display the sign are siding with her employees who voted to join a union -- people like Eric Zahm.
"I just feel like we should support them," says Zahm, owner of Highlights Hair Salon. "We canceled our subscription, signed on to the L.A. Times and I don't think it is right what she is doing."
Right or wrong, it's not against the law, says McCaw's attorney Barry Cappello. He claims the sign exposes the newspaper owner to "hatred, contempt and ridicule." If Zahm refuses to take the sign out of his window, McCaw's attorney will take "appropriate action."
If the letter was intended to intimidate the hair stylist, it worked.
"It scared me a little bit," says Zahm. "It intimidated me. And I don't think it was necessary."
Eric Zahm has removed the sign from his window.
McCaw's attorney was in court this afternoon and could not be reached for comment.
Action News' efforts to contact the owner through the newspaper's spokesperson were unsuccessful.
More than 30 News-Press employees have either quit or been fired since July. That's when some first openly complained that McCaw was interfering with news coverage. Employees who stayed voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters Union.
So I'll oblige Wendy McCaw and her fear of "hatred, contempt and riddicule" some more by making her today's Knucklehead of the day. Feel better Wendy?
Hat tip- Walter at Overlawyered
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