The Stingray Links - Peter Lance Press Release 6/14/01
THE STINGRAY NEWS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles 6/14/01 The multi-million dollar litigation over charges by a former Castaway that CBS’s blockbuster series SURVIVOR was “rigged,” entered a new phase today when the investigative
reporter who first broke the rigging charges in a book last fall, challenged a 13 page subpoena
from CBS’s lawyers attempting to force him to divulge the confidential sources behind his book.
In a 10 page response to White, O’Conner, Curry, Gatti & Avanzado, lawyers for CBS and SEG, Inc.
(Survivor Entertainment Group) former ABC News correspondent Peter Lance alleged that
CBS/SEG’s attempts to discover his reporter’s work product and sources amounted to “harassment.”
On May 10th, CBS/SEG served Lance with a subpoena to appear at a sworn deposition set
for June 25th.
Been last Fall in his investigative book THE STINGRAY LETHAL TACTICS OF THE SOLE
SURVIVOR (Shadow Lawn Press) ISBN: 1885840039.
Court and later CBS/SEG cited her interviews with Lance for THE STINGRAY in their five-million
lawsuit against Ms. Stillman filed in Los Angeles Superior Court February 20th.
refusal to depose Lance in both pending SURVIVOR cases (something they did for non-party
witness Dirk Been) was further evidence of a campaign of intimidation
“CBS/SEG would be hard pressed to articulate any basis for subjecting Mr. Lance to multiple
depositions, other than a desire to harass him,” wrote Lance’s attorney Jeff Feldman in a four-page
cover letter to Holly Sadlon a lawyer for CBS/SEG at the White, O’Conner firm.
the subpoena that CBS/SEG served on Mr. Lance, seems designed in large part to harass him….
most of the documents the subpoena seeks production of are protected by legal privilege. For that
much of the subpoena is unenforceable.”
“Any and all documents which refer, reflect or relate to any communications between (Lance) and
any person including, but not limited to notes, memoranda, letters, facsimiles, e-mails, telephone
records and telephone messages, including any and all drafts, concerning: (a) this litigation (b) Survivor,
(c) the SEG action; (d) CBS; (e) VIACOM; (f) Burnett; (g) Survivor Productions Inc; (h) Survivor
Productions LLC; or (i) SEG.”
Been swore “influenced” his vote against Stillman on Day 9 of SURVIVOR’s first season.
to uncover every single confidential source and all of the reporting that went into the writing of
THE STINGRAY, including my ongoing coverage of the Survivor rigging scandal from the moment
I first started talking to Richard Hatch a year ago until the moment the subpoena was issued on
“My lawyers and I have already spent days preparing a response. During that time I’ve had to
drop my on-going coverage of the Survivor scandal. There’s no doubt that this overly broad
subpoena is an attempt by CBS to take me off this story.”
any party from forcing a journalist to reveal unpublished material, research material and confidential
information and sources,” wrote Feldman in his letter to lawyers for CBS/SEG. “…unless and until
that party can demonstrate a compelling need and that it has exhausted it’s ability to obtain the sought
material from alternative, non-privilege sources,”
in this matter,” said Lance, “not Stacey Stillman, not Mark Burnett, nor any officials of CBS. The
question is why subject the reporter who first broke the Survivor rigging allegations to this level of
legal intimidation unless CBS is determined to chill him from covering the ongoing story?”
On May 26th, represented by Feldman, Lance filed a Motion to Unseal Dirk Been’s deposition in the
litigation after it had been deemed sealed and kept secret by lawyers for Stillman and CBS/SEG. At a
hearing on Lance’s Motion May 17th, the Judge in the CBS/SEG vs. Stillman case ruled that the
deposition should not be sealed and CBS finally made it public May 25th.
SEAL Rudy Boesch off the island of Pulau Tiga in Episode Three of SURVIVOR One, but after
Burnett intervened with him and Castaway Dr. Sean Kenniff suggesting they form an alliance against
Stillman, he changed his vote.
of SURVIVOR. After Lance shared his findings in two investigative segments of DATELINE NBC
(May 14th and June 1st) CBS accused NBC (in the words of a recent LA. TIMES story) of
“unleashing it’s news division on the CBS program “Survivor” to service NBC’s corporate ends.”
interests of NBC Entertainment,” wrote CBS in a statement released June 1st. “We'd like to think
that CBS News would never be used to attack a competitor."
CBS/SEG: “CBS has a long and distinguished history of working to protect the First Amendment’s
freedom of the press,” wrote Feldman. “It would be a sad day and a long-remembered moment in
American journalism, if the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, Fred Friendly, and Walter Cronkite is
sullied by a short-sighted effort by the network to trample a journalist’s proper assertion of those
rights and freedoms.”