Monday July 06, 2020
Rape Allegations against TV Star Disrupt CPSC Fireworks Effort
Note: This story has been updated to include input from CPSC. Also, a separate story with more information is at bit.ly/2CaKTAI.
Mention of Adam Savage and his images disappeared from CPSC social media and website following rape allegations against the costar of MythBusters. This included revision to an earlier press release (PSL, 6/29/20) that had announced Savage's participation in CPSC's fireworks messaging effort.
As of July 3, three days after the lawsuit filing in Westchester, N.Y., images of deleted CPSC memes with use of Savage's face still could be found via a Google image search (bit.ly/38jRWmH). Also, a two-minute Associate Press video (bit.ly/2NLGrL5) featuring Savage talking and B-roll footage of CPSC's mannequin demolitions from past years was still on YouTube.
CPSC had not yet responded by the PSL deadline to questions about how Savage was chosen, whether he still would be paid, and how the agency was reconfiguring its efforts at the last minute. On the third matter, for example, CPSC's twitter feed was featuring older mannequin videos instead.
A two-page contract viewed by PSL showed that Savage was to receive $30,000 for his participation. It generally sets out activity and use of his image between June 25 and July 3, but that ended June 30 following the allegations. Payment was to be made within a week of completion of services. CPSC was represented by the D.C. office of Finn Partners.
The allegations are from Savage's younger sister, who asserts there were recurring sexual assaults in the late 1970s when both were children. Savage denies the accusations.
This was the second disruption to CPSC's 2020 fireworks messaging. The pandemic caused the first as the agency decided against holding its annual explosion demonstration.
Following initial publication of this story, PSL received this statement from CPSC:
"CPSC is stunned to learn of the serious allegations made against Adam Savage by a family member. Our mission is to protect the safety and well-being of consumers – particularly children – and we are committed to that principle in all aspects of our work. Thus, the Commission has requested that Widmeyer-Finn Partners, the agency’s outside communications group, immediately sever their relationship with Mr. Savage on our fireworks safety messaging. We regret if this important message has in any way been compromised by Mr. Savage’s involvement. The safety message, however, remains paramount and CPSC is committed to continuing its efforts to provide consumers with safety information during this challenging fireworks season."
This statement was written June 30, but PSL did not get it by its deadline for the July 6 issue. PSL sought comment from a spokesperson who was on vacation but did not inquire with the person's colleague.