'Tonya Tapper' Ad Creates A Stir p. 11

By: Dorothy Giobbe Minneapolis Star Tribune gets some reader complaints after
carrying an ad for a 'collapsible personal protection device'
similar to the one used in the attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan sp.

AFTER REAMS OF newsprint and countless column inches were sacrificed to the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan drama, it was only a matter of time before advertisers figured out a way to cash in on the story.
"The Tonya Tapper" is a steel "personal protection device" that was advertised Feb. 13 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. For $39.95 plus $6.05 for tax, shipping and handling, readers can own the device, which is "similar, if not identical, to the one used in the Nancy Kerrigan attack," said David Anderson, a Minneapolis lawyer who placed the ad.
Harding's ex-husband has pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge for his role in planning the assault on Olym-pic skater Kerrigan during the U.S. national figure-skating championships in Detroit in January. Three others have been charged, though Harding, who won the national title and a spot on the Olympic team after Kerrigan was unable to compete, has denied involvement in the plan and has not been charged.
After the ad ran, the Star Tribune received about 20 calls from readers who said the ad was in poor taste, said Roxanne Oswald, standards of acceptability leader at the Star Tribune.
"There was a great deal of thought put into the decision [to accept the ad]," Oswald said. "The taste issue was a difficult thing obviously, but one of our overriding principles is that we will always accept ads for any product or service that is legal.
"The ad didn't say anything about [Hard- ing's] guilt or innocence," she added. "If it had, it would have changed the way we looked at it."
For the $1,000 ad price, Anderson figures he got his money's worth "and then some." After the ad appeared, "all hell broke loose," and he received calls from "radio call-in shows and news programs from all over the country."
"I guess it's like Andy Warhol said, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame," Anderson said. "Right now, I'm becoming famous. I'm not sure I'll become rich, though."
He said that while he expects responses from throughout the country, "I don't think I'll get many orders from Portland [Ore.]," Harding's hometown.
But, like the man who won the lottery and soon found that all his time was spent keeping track of his fortune, Anderson has discovered that being in the spotlight has its special dilemmas.
"I'm seriously considering talking to some kind of media adviser . . . . Should I grant exclusives? Should I limit my interviews and wait for [CBS News anchor] Connie Chung to call?"
While he's waiting, Anderson has thought up a new angle. "You never know. If [Harding] wins a medal, we're thinking of marketing this in gold and silver."
?( The controversial ad) [Caption]


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