College expresses regret over video called `vulgar'

May 12, 1999|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

Howard Community College apologized yesterday for airing a video segment "of objectionable content" on its cable television station early Sunday.

"It apparently had some imagery involving toilets and babies and sewers, and people growing up in the sewers and becoming a certain segment of our society," said Randy Bengfort, the college's director of public relations and marketing.

The segment, which has been withdrawn, was part of a nationally distributed, Colorado-based production called "Free Speech TV," which is designed to provide a medium for controversial topics and alternative viewpoints.

Bengfort said the college received one complaint about the video's content from a resident who saw part of it on HCC-TV Channel 71 about 2 a.m. Sunday.

HCC apologized in a three-paragraph statement released yesterday.

"A segment airing this weekend clearly was offensive and in bad taste," the statement read. "The spot was withdrawn, and future installments of Free Speech TV will be more carefully scrutinized."

The man who complained, Chris Lea, a father of three who lives in Columbia's Owen Brown village, called the video "pornographic" and "vulgar."

Lea, 48, said the video was about an "aborted fetus flushed down a toilet" that became known as "trailer trash girl."

"If I was back in college, I probably would have laughed at that," he said. "But not on our TV. Are these people thinking?"

Pub Date: 5/12/99

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