A week after broadcasting a show in which he defecated on camera, Jim Spagg--host of Jim Spagg's Nude Scene and Jim Spagg's Naked Truth--has been suspended from Portland Cable Access TV for a year. The official reason? Copyright infringement.
"He simply took property and used it as his own, against our rules and federal law," says Carl Kucharski, PCA's executive director.
Spagg's antics have been the bane of local cable for more than 11 years. Unsuspecting channel surfers, pausing on one of the three channels that broadcast PCA, have often been accosted by Spagg's bouncing white buttocks as he dances around on stage, frequently invoking certain four-letter words. His swan song, Jim Spagg's: The Show Where "It" Happened Before and "It" Will Happen Again, was first broadcast Feb. 19 and was pulled off the air Feb. 22. "I had my artistic reasons for taking a shit on camera," says Spagg.
But the material that got Spagg booted off the cable-access stage was not naked cavorting, but a videotape of a show produced by the Independent Producers Organization that Spagg taped and re-broadcast on his (fully-clothed) talk show from Jan. 15 to Feb. 2.
The segment consisted of testimony from different people commenting on the quality of PCA TV. "It looked like it could have been a public-service message to me," says Spagg, a plump, balding 64-year-old Danny DeVito look-alike.
Unfortunately for Spagg, the report was copyrighted material. (Last year he was also suspended, and then banished, from MCTV, Gresham's public-access channel, for copyright infringement.)
Spagg and his supporters suspect the copyright issue is just a fig leaf. "This is not the real reason they got rid of me," Spagg says.
Concerned citizens, politicians and parents alike have been trying to get the notorious naked man off their TV screens for years, but since Oregon's constitution rigorously protects freedom of speech, it's been difficult to accomplish.
"To me, his suspension is not justified," says Steve Ruljancich, a MCTV producer and friend of Spagg's. "Claiming copyright infringement from an in-house show done at PCA...is a minor infraction. They were looking for something to suspend him with for a long time; he's ruffled the feathers of the board...for years."
But PCA boss Kucharski insists that Spagg's suspension has nothing to do with his nude antics. To suggest anything else, he told WW, "is complete nonsense."