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(en) [PRISONACT] Missouri AG Sues Benetton Over Ads

From Scott Fleming <scott@prisonactivist.org>
Date Thu, 17 Feb 2000 16:33:53 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Missouri Attorney General Sues Benetton Over Ads

Missouri's attorney general has sued Italian clothing maker Benetton for
alleged fraudulent misrepresentation in gaining access to four death row
inmates who later appeared in the company's ad campaign.

Attorney General Jay Nixon told reporters Wednesday he sued Benetton and
its representatives including a Gonzaga University law professor in
Washington County Court with fraudulent misrepresentation, trespass by
deceit and trespass by exceeding the scope of consent, and asked for
undisclosed monetary damages.
Nixon said when prison authorities in Potosi, granted permission they were
told that Benetton's ``We, On Death Row'' project was sponsored by the
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and that interviews done
with the inmates were intended for an article for Newsweek magazine.

``Instead, we find out that the project is a part of a Benetton advertising
campaign, and the photographs and interviews are being used in an ad
campaign that includes billboards, videos and a 90-page supplement to be
distributed nationwide in magazines,'' Nixon said.

Benetton's controversial international ad campaign features photographs and
interviews with more than two dozen death row inmates from prisons in
Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Kentucky and North Carolina. It is intended
to raise doubts about the use of the death penalty.

``Clearly our prisons are not allowed for commercial endeavors and prison
officials would have never allowed entry had they been told the truth about
the project, ''Nixon said. He added that the ad campaign was ``launched on
the backs of innocent victims,'' referring to family  members of the
victims of the four Missouri inmates featured in the ads.

Among those named in the suit were Gonzaga University law professor Speedy
Rice, Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, freelance writer Ken Schulman
and Rice's secretary, Julie Wasson.

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