AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Last Thursday found the next chapter in the misfortunes of the owners of XPW.
On the same night that their long-trumpeted PPV aired (only on DirecTV) made up of archived matches from their California days, Rob “Rob Black” Zicari and Janet “Lizzie Borden” Romano, of the XPW promotion and the Extreme Associates adult film company, were indicted on 10 charges by a federal grand jury for the distribution of “obscene materials” via the United States Postal Service and online via the Extreme Associates.com website.
The indictment is available by accessing this URL (please note that the website in question features adult materials).
Zicari and Romano as individuals, and Extreme Associates as a corporation were indicted for distributing three “obscene” videos to the Pittsburgh area through the mail, and six video clips online over the Internet to the Pittsburgh area. The tenth charge was on conspiracy to commit the aforementioned actions. Zicari and Romano were required to turn in their passports and must appear at an arraignment hearing in Pittsburgh on August 27.
U.S. Attorney and prosecutor for the case, Mary Beth Buchanan, has stated that Zicari and Romano, if convicted, both face a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison, a $2.5 million fine, and probation. The Extreme Associates, Inc. corporation faces a potential $5 million fine, and could be required to surrender their domain name. Buchanan is apparently a favorite of US Attorney General John Ashcroft, serving on his Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. Ashcroft has described Buchanan’s work with the advisory committee’s working group on child exploitation and obscenity as “invaluable.”
The indictment came from the distribution of three films produced by Extreme Associates, entitled “Forced Entry-Director’s Cut”, “Cocktails#2-Director’s Cut”, and “Extreme Teen #24”. The Extremeassociates.com website hosted the six clips listed in the above indictments for distribution through the United States mails.
The North Hollywood offices of Extreme Associates were raided by federal agents, postal inspectors and three Los Angeles police officers on April 9, 2003 with a ten-page warrant. The agents seized three copies each of the above titles.
Sadly, the loyalists of XPW area are blaming…who else?
Philadelphia wrestling fans.
The following quote appeared on Socaluncensored.com, citing a statement made by XPWTV.com honcho Jonathan Siderman on the XPWTV.com message board:
Jonathan Siderman at XPWTV.com has let it slip that indeed, the complaint came from someone in the Philly wrestling community. Just another Philly dirty trick. I hope the name of the lowlife that did this is revealed, so we can choose who to support knowing they are dirtier players than Black EVER was.
A direct quote from Siderman was:
“I think anyone who believes in any form of freedom of speech needs to stand up and support Rob and Lizzy. I am not saying who reported them to the feds, but God I hope their names out brought out during the trial. Add if it is wrestling related … well we know what might come next.
Assuming Mr. Siderman actually believes this, he’s highly mistaken…or so desperate to blame someone that it defies logic. The next logical question is: what does Siderman mean “might come next?” I’m not even sure I want to even consider what he’s trying to suggest.
I so know that if XPW’s making one of their lawsuit threats to some unknown boogie man out there…they’d be better served not making threats. All the Feds need to do is to see that comment…and they might take it in a way far different than Mr. Siderman presumably meant it to.
Steve Bryant of Socaluncensored.com listed the following section of the indictment, disproving the Siderman allegation:
a. On or about July 17, 2002, the defendants, EXTREME ASSOCIATES, INC., ROBERT ZICARI, a/k/a Robert Black, and JANET ROMANO, a/k/a Lizzie Borden, accepted an order for a video tape copy of ‘Forced Entry – Directors Cut,’ and accepted payment in the form of a charge to an undercover credit card used by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Not to mention that the indictment later states that the shipment was made to PITTSBURGH, not Philadelphia.
As for the premise of the indictment…as far as I’m concerned personally, as long as the tapes in question involve consenting adults and they were shipped to a consenting adult, it shouldn’t be anyone’s business, including the Federal government. I personally find some of what is shown on their tapes distasteful, but it doesn’t mean I think those tapes should be illegal.
Despite what XPW’s loyalists will tell you, my beef (and that of many others) with Rob Zicari and XPW concerned the fact that XPW and its employees refused to follow the same Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission regulations that other promoters in Pennsylvania had to, as well as inexplicably trying to DENY XPW’s connection to Extreme Associates.
I did report that people in the neighborhood surrounding the ECW Arena had problems with the prime business of Extreme Associates in this December 30, 2002 AS I SEE IT column, and in an January 13, 2003 AS I SEE IT column.
But that’s reporting on the opinions of others. Those same stories showed that XPW, which was represented by Shane Douglas in a local article in the South Philly Review, falsely attempted to deny the connection between XPW and Extreme Associates.
In a strange sort of way, Rob Zicari’s karma may, unfortunately or otherwise, be coming back to haunt him at the same time that ideologues within the Bush administration are looking for convenient targets in their “culture wars”.
I also remember Rob Zicari profanely attacking Jay Bower, a former PWBTS writer (who now writes for 411mania.com). It seemed Bower didn’t care for the infamous “puppy angle” and said so in a column that appeared on PWBTS. Zicari’s ever-tasteful reply (with language edited for family consumption) was as follows:
“I want to go on record and say that Jay Bower is a d#@*he bag. And let me tell you something, Jay Bower. Your mother sucks $@#%. That’s what your mother does. She sucks %&$#. He said I’m a psychologically twisted individual. So Jay Bower, your mother %$#@s @#&%s. And your dad- when you’re not around- when he’s supposed to be at work, he’s down here at our office getting &%#ked up his %$# by six black guys %&$#@* &%# up your father’s ass.”
No doubt the language of your typical corporate executive.
The thing is…the First Amendment applies to a depraved, sick bastard like Rob Zicari just as much as you and I…and Rob Zicari is entitled to its protection, despite what he otherwise may deserve for the above comments to a former writer of mine…and may deserve for so much more.
Until next time…..
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