Two University Television producers who were fired after they drank tequila, showed photographs of nude men and women and discussed oral sex on the air, claimed yesterday that UTV officials had approved the content of their show before it aired. Fumo and Rothstein, the two hosts of the show, said that UTV Production Manager Kirk Marcolina approved an outline of the program on September 13, two-and-a-half weeks before it aired. "His only problem was that we were only showing a [nude] female," Fumo said. "He advised us to show a male centerfold also." Marcolina said last night that he approved a plan for the show in advance, but was shocked when he viewed a video tape of the program several hours after it aired Tuesday. "I realized that things had gotten out of hand on the show," Marcolina said. "Immediately after I saw the show, I called [Station Manager Diane Rekstad] and asked to have an executive board meeting to discuss what action should be taken." Fumo and Rothstein also said they described the program to the entire UTV staff during a general meeting on September 18, indicating that it would contain nudity as a promotional gimmick. Rekstad acknowledged yesterday that station officials had approved moderate drinking and the display of one nude photograph of a woman if a nude photograph of a man was also displayed. But Rekstad said the show went "way beyond" any outline that station officials might have approved and violated long-standing UTV rules against programs containing material that is "degrading, dehumanizing or blatantly offensive." "They showed a picture of a 300-pound woman," Rekstad said. "We knew the format, but we didn't know it would get into the vulgarity that it got into. They took it too far. It made reference to JAPs and Jewish women. We found it was harassing." Rekstad said the show was canceled because of the content, but the student producers were fired because their behavior recklessly endangered station equipment. "They drank excessively," Rekstad said. "Vince took about 10 tequila shots. You could tell that they were drunk. They were throwing microphones. How could we trust them with our thousands of dollars of equipment?" "We don't kick people out just because their show is offensive," she added. But not everyone at UTV agreed that the students should have been dismissed. College junior Robby Koeppel, producer of the station's Dating Connections, said last night that the students were being "unfairly treated," adding that they were just exercising their rights of free speech. "They did a disclaimer," Koeppel said. "If there is something that grosses me out on PBS, I turn it off." Fumo, who is the son of high-ranking Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Fumo (D-Phila.), said yesterday that he does not think he and Rothstein did anything wrong. "I adamantly believe that the station mangers were aware of what we were going to broadcast and they hung us out to dry," Fumo said. In the future, Rekstad said UTV officials will sit in on any live program which might have offensive material and will pull the plug if the show crosses the line between humor and degradation. "This is the first time we censored any show," Rekstad said. "We just assumed that people knew where the lines were. In the future, if it's a new live show and we're not sure what it's going to include, we'll be there monitoring it."Comments powered by Disqus
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