Right of Disassociation

Regarding Howard Rosenberg's note on Paul Reubens in "Landon's Charm Eerily Lives on in Informercials," (Calendar, Aug. 7), wherein Disney-MGM and CBS are accused of corporate self-righteousness, of prejudging Reubens and wherein Rosenberg says Reubens is "innocent until proved guilty," stressing that Reubens has denied the charge:

First: "Innocent until proved guilty" applies to the criminal process. It ensures that a person has certain safeguards to protect him from a police state and that unless and until he is convicted by applicable due process, he has a right to bail and he will not be sentenced and/or fined. It does not apply to society's right of disassociation or other decisions.

If Reubens had never been arrested, a person would still have the right to not be his friend and to not show his programs. Since charges have been made, the same rights still exist. There is nothing in how individuals or corporations operate that prohibits them from making decisions on what they perceive to be poor judgment, conduct and impropriety and how they wish to lawfully react to it, whether or not Reubens is eventually found guilty.

A jury may find that a person committed the act involved in the charge and yet return a verdict of not guilty because all the elements of the crime were not proven.

Second: OK, so he denied the charge. That's his right. Any adult with any sophistication knows what goes on in these adult theaters. You don't find such theaters in South Coast Plaza or the Farmers Market. The activity in those theaters involves group and mutual masturbation, among other things. If such a person was using good judgment and common sense, why would he want to go into such a theater? Aren't there alternatives?

The corporations, in pulling Reubens' programs, have exercised the same right that they have in not permitting one of their employees to drive a corporate vehicle when that employee has displayed poor judgment by running red lights and speeding--whether or not the employee is convicted.

Assume that the charges are true, does that make him less talented or his programs less enjoyable? No. But neither does it change an individual's, society's or a corporation's right not to be associated with him.

Rosenberg is spending an awful lot of time and print defending a person who is innocent until proven guilty while ignoring the legitimate and lawful rights of others to act without regard to the criminal justice system.



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