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Action Alert on Pacifica's Democracy Now!

August 13, 2001

Last Friday afternoon, Amy Goodman was physically accosted by WBAI Interim General Manger Utrice Leid. WBAI is one of five stations owned by Pacifica Radio from which Amy broadcasts her award-winning program Democracy Now!. As you may know, Amy has continually and passionately covered East Timor and Indonesia on Pacifica. With Allan Nairn, she survived the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre ; an event that some now in control at WBAI outrageously assert did not occur.

The incident described below is part of an ongoing campaign of harassment of Amy and seems part of a determined effort to force Amy and Democracy Now! from their air. Until now they have not risked firing Amy. But over the course of last week, a number of steps were taken that appeared to be directed toward that end. Please don't allow Amy's or Democracy Now!'s voice to be stilled.

According to eyewitnesses, Amy came upon two WBAI staffers rifling through the personal possessions of fired WBAI Program Director Bernard White. Amy objected to the invasion of privacy, and when the two people refused to stop, she went to her office, got her camera, and took a picture of their illegal search.

WBAI manager Utrice Leid, who appeared on the scene at that point, ripped the camera out of Amy's hands and stalked into an adjacent office. Amy followed her and demanded her camera back. Leid simply laughed in Amy's face, saying she would have the film developed herself. Leid, who is much larger than Amy, then physically shoved her out of the way and marched down the hallway to her own office whereupon she shut the door. But Amy would not be intimidated. She stood outside Leid's office and again demanded the camera back. Leid finally relented, opened the door and handed it to Amy.

Amy reiterated that it was wrong to be going through Bernard White's possessions. Leid asked her how she knew anyone was doing that. Amy replied that she had witnessed the incident. "Just like you witnessed the massacre in East Timor?" retorted Leid sarcastically, echoing a common slander that has now been made by several WBAI staffers who are followers of Leid: that the 1991 East Timor massacre that Amy witnessed and reported about was fabricated by her.

For those who live in the WBAI listening area, this incident will come as no surprise. We have heard numerous on-air diatribes by Leid and her followers routinely vilifying Amy and other dissidents at the station. Amy has been threatened with violence, made the object of racist and sexist slurs, and denounced as a "criminal," a "saboteur" and a "Svengali" who is responsible for the entire Pacifica crisis. Leid has said that Amy's contribution to Pacifica is "vomit" and "defecation" and her followers have at times used sexist epithets to degrade Amy, even deriding her on the air as "childless."

Amy has directed numerous complaints to interim executive director Bessie Wash and to the Pacifica Board majority about the harassment and slander, but they refuse to intercede. Are they waiting for Leid or one of her stooges to physically assault Amy?

The campaign of harassment and pressure must stop now!

We urge you to act now.

August 14 UPDATE:

Tuesday, August 14, 2001


Today's live broadcast of Democracy Now! was yanked off the air by Pacifica and replaced by a tape of an old DN show.

This unprecedented action occurred after all-night negotiations between the management and Goodman broke down early this morning. Goodman notified Pacifica yesterday that she could no longer originate the show at WBAI in New York due to the continual intimidation and harassment she was experiencing at the hands of interim station manage Utrice Leid.

She offered instead to originate the program from Downtown Community Television (DCTV) in Lower Manhattan until management could assure her a safe working environment, and she proceeded to do just that this morning. The originating of programming - national and local -- from remote locations is not unheard of.

But Pacifica lawyers, who had not responded to numerous letters and complaints from Amy about the increasing harassment she had faced in recent weeks, refused yesterday to either guarantee her a safe work environment or agree to allow her to broadcast from someplace else.

The escalating harassment against Goodman included an incident last Friday where Leid physically shoved her during a heated discussion; the removal of Democracy Now! from the main production studio of WBAI, continued on-air personal attacks on Amy by staff members close to Leid, racist and sexist remarks by staff members that are not censured by management, even slanderous statements about Goodman that continue to appear on Pacifica's official web page.

No one should be forced to work under such conditions, and certainly not the host of the most popular news program in Pacifica's history. 


see ETAN's Democracy Now! page

read  ETAN's November 2000 letter concerning Democracy Now! to the Pacifica Board

read ETAN's August 17, 2001 open letter to WBAI and Pacifica on East Timor and Amy Goodman

General information and background can be found at:

P.S. If you would like to send a note of support to Amy and the Democracy Now! crew, we would be happy to forward it.

Stop the Harassment of Democracy Now! Resign Now!

1) Stop the threats, slander and physical intimidation against Amy Goodman

2) Resign. Step aside and allow for new leadership to begin the rebuilding process at Pacifica radio and WBAI.

Please call, fax and/or e-mail the following individuals. Your phone calls are important. 

Keep the message simple and straightforward.

 No harassment of Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman and resign now.

Cut the below list of email addresses, paste it into the To: line of your email composition form.,,,,,,,,,,,,;

WBAI Acting GM Utrice Leid Tel: 212-209-2800/2820; Fax: 212-747-1698 E-mail:

Pacifica Executive Director Bessie Wash Tel: 202-588-0999 x 348 or 888-770-4944 x348; Fax: 202-588-0561 E-mail:

Pacifica Board Vice Chair Ken Ford Tel: 202-822-0228; Fax: 202-822-0369 E-mail:,

Pacifica Board member Valrie Chambers Tel: 361-825-6012; Fax: 281-655-0266 E-mail:,

Pacifica Board member Wendell L. Johns Tel: 202-752-5355; Fax: 202-752-4281 E-mail:



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