The New York State Attorney General's office has launched an official inquiry into the legality of Emmis-owned radio station Hot 97's recent promotion, "Smackfest."
NEW YORK -- The New York State Attorney General's office has launched an official inquiry into the legality of Emmis-owned radio station Hot 97's recent promotion, "Smackfest."
Under the contest, which was organized late last year, two women selected by the station slapped each other until a winner was announced. The winner received $5,000.
According to New York state law, "no combative sport" can be conducted without operating under a sports association or similarly licensed organization. Both the combatants and the organizers may be subject to charges.
The inquiry came after New York city council members wrote the attorney general's office in concern over the contest. The stunt was never aired due to short staffing, but video remnants of the fight are still being circulated on the Internet. At one point, Hot 97 DJ Ebro Darde declares, "We got mouth blood," after one woman took a blow. He pauses the fight, only to begin again after a short break.
"There's been quite an uproar about this particular competition from the city council," said Brad Maione, a representative of the attorney general's office.
Emmis' Jeff Smulyan took the lawsuit differently. "This is pure political opportunism," he said in a release. "We find it hypocritical that the attorney general is going after Hot 97 and Imus's ranch and not Fox's 'Celebrity Boxing,' Clear Channel's 'Slapdown,' MTV's 'Jackass,' NBC's 'Fear Factor,' CBS' 'Survivor' and numerous other radio stations. The 'Smackfest' promotion has already been shut down, and we do not believe it violated the law in any way. In fact, hundreds of consenting adults signed up for 'Smackfest' -- many more than could be accommodated -- and they had to show proof of age and sign waivers."