December 2, 2016
ART BELL and his wife AIRYN RUIZ BELL have filed suit against syndicated talker MICHAEL SAVAGE, WESTWOOD ONE, and CUMULUS for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The suit, filed WEDNESDAY in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of CALIFORNIA, alleges that on SEPTEMBER 25th, SAVAGE defamed the couple with the comment, “You say UFOs, you wind up in the PHILIPPINES with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in-joke, by the way, for people who understand the business.”
The suit notes that “Ms. BELL has never been a prostitute and was 22 years old when the BELLS married. Also, Mr. BELL was not ‘off the radio’ because he discussed UFOs or married Ms. BELL. These facts were publicly known and closely followed by many in the radio broadcasting industry and general public.”
A request for a retraction or correction was “ignored,” the complaint states. “At present, Mr. BELL is strongly considering resumption of his radio broadcasting and journalism careers,” the complaint adds. “However, the Statement has harmed his professional reputation and is hindering his efforts to return to broadcasting and journalism.”
– See more: HERE
I think most people, including myself, would have not have been aware of this remark until Art Bell launched this lawsuit.
In fact, listeners to Art Bell over the many years he was broadcasting (he is still available in re-runs over the Internet, and I still listen to his past shows daily) know the true story behind Art’s previous wife Ramona’s death, his subsequent re-marriage and reasons for relocation to the Philippines. He has since returned to his Nevada home.
I think a lot of Art’s personal problems stem from his decision to locate in a remote desert location and by doing this he was not able to rely on a local production staff to screen and handle these remarks made by loudmouth competitors.
His reaction to WABC’s Curtis Sliwa tactics for promoting Art Bell’s show (by calling Art a loony kazoonie) revealed his lack of “smarts” of how the New York City radio market works, and he took Sliwa’s remarks personally. It turns out that Sliwa was told by station management to criticize the show to generate interest in Coast to Coast and build ratings. As a result, listeners tuned in out of curiosity and the show reached number one very quickly.
People in show business become targets for all the kooks and crazies in the world as well as other jealous talk show hosts that in a million years could never be as successful as Art Bell was.
I use the past tense because the most successful performers know when to retire. Art is now past his prime, the world has moved on – in fact many of his former guests now have their own shows!
Art should pursue his ham radio hobby and enjoy his family in his retirement. Life’s too short for these frivolous lawsuits.
I agree with much of the above. However, Savage’s alleged comment about the “10 year old hooker” goes way beyond the kind of alpha-male chest-poking of Curtis Sliwa and most other Bell bashers. If Savage won’t apologize then Art should have a good chance of collecting some cash while defending the honour of his wife.
It was eyebrow raising when Art married Arayn so soon after Ramona’s death, reportedly due to a severe asthma attack. I believe Arayn was the sister of the fiancée of one of Art’s friends. It did look suspicious to some. In Art’s defence, he’s not the kind of guy who seems to thrive in utter solitude. With Ramona dead and apparently estranged from kin, Art was likely in a pretty dark place out there in Parumph.
It’s a stretch for him to claim another comeback is nigh and that Savage’s comments will impede it. A few weeks before his last return–to Keith Rowland’s Dark Matter Digital Network–I correctly predicted it wouldn’t last long. Sure enough, within months Art had decamped from Midnight In The Desert, claiming one or more persons were shooting at him and threatening his family. I always felt bad for Rowland although maybe he went into the arrangement with little expectation that Art would be in the host’s chair for very long.
Let’s just say, Art Bell seems to attract drama and Oh Brother is right to wish him well in retirement.