January 13, 2004
Mr. Steve Myers
c/o KJRH TV
P.O. Box 2
Tulsa, OK 74101-0002
VIA FACSIMILIE (918-748-1476) and FIRST CLASS MAIL
Dear Mr. Myers:
This letter is written on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an international animal rights organization with more than 800,000 members and supporters, and concerns five e-mails transmitted by you to PETA and members of the public in which you defame and threaten employees of PETA. This conduct is actionable under the law and will be addressed as such by PETA should you fail to cease these acts immediately.
In the e-mails you state that the PETA investigator who exposed the severe neglect of animals at the Amarillo Wildlife Refuge fabricated the evidence which PETA has used to support its complaints to authorities, and that the PETA investigator is a “sneaky little lying bitc_ [sic]” who is responsible for the neglect herself. These statements are libelous and thus subject you to both criminal and civil liability in a court of law. Okla. Stat. tit. 21, 773. The photographs and videotape recordings at issue depict the actual conditions uncovered by the PETA investigator: (1) when she arrived at AWR; (2) during the time she was employed at AWR; and (3) on her return visits to AWR subsequent to her dismissal (attributed by Charlie Azzopardi to a lack of funds). Moreover, the PETA investigator was assigned her daily tasks by Azzopardi and she was only directed, or even permitted, to clean the animals’ cages on an infrequent basis — in fact, she was expressly prohibited by Azzopardi on a number of occasions. PETA has incontrovertible evidence to support these facts.
Your misrepresentations, as they were made to PETA members and supporters and members of the media, also constitute malicious interference with business relations (e.g., Mac Adjustment, Inc. v. Property Loss Research Bureau, 595 P.2d 427 (OK 1979)), and may be actionable as common law fraud as well. E.g., Worsham v. Nix, 2003 WL 23112669 (Okla. Civ. App. 2003). Moreover, the threats to PETA and its employees may subject you to prosecution for violations of Okla. Stat. tit. 21, 1304 that makes it a felony to transmit any letter, document, or other written or printed matter which is designed to threaten or intimidate the recipient.
You are hereby notified to take all steps necessary to ensure this conduct ceases immediately. In addition, we demand that you contact all individuals and entities to which you have made misrepresentations about PETA and its employees and correct the error. Please copy PETA on this correspondence, at the address above, so that PETA is assured that proper remedial action has been taken.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. I can be reached at 757-622-7382, extension 1646.
Research & Investigations Dept.
cc: Mr. Michael Kronley
Vice President and General Manager