DJ Fired Following Support of Controversial Film “Heart of the Beholder”

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There are Lots of Questions ... We Need Some Answers. In 1981 One Man Loses Everything Standing Up For His Constitutional Rights and Freedom of Speech Against Religious Fundamentalists and Censorship. In 2006 Another Man is Fired For Supporting A Film Based on The First Man’s True Story. How Far Have We Really Come?

Late last week, Michael Jamrock of Palm Beach Florida was fired from his job as a DJ at 97.9 WRMF FM, following his support of an independent feature film because the powers-that-be thought it was too controversial. A more than 20 year veteran of the industry, Jamrock previously worked at such acclaimed radio stations as Y100 in Miami and WTTC in Hartford.

Why did the new Program Director refuse to watch the film?

More than two decades earlier one-time video store owner-turned filmmaker Ken Tipton lost his family, his business and nearly his life in a struggle over his right for Freedom of Speech against a group of religious fundamentalists who deemed him immoral for having such films as The Last Temptation of Christ on his shelves.

Then what?

But the fight continues as Tipton turned his better than fiction true life story into the award-winning feature film “Heart of the Beholder,” ( the only film to win five back-to-back Best Picture Awards at various film festivals but has yet to find a traditional distributor for the film because they say the subject matter is too controversial.

Too controversial in 2006?

And now, weeks before “Heart of the Beholder” is set to screen at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, Jamrock was fired from his job of more than three years after an altercation with a recently appointed program director who was against Jamrock’s support of the film…A film that was going to be advertised on the radio station and supported with contests, ticket giveaways and live remotes. 97.9 WRMF FM also happens to be a sponsor of The Palm Beach International Film Festival and though they refused to support and advertise the film, they requested that the filmmakers not go anywhere else as their station is an official sponsor.

Why was he fired?

The official reason was withheld by the station but the timing of his termination speaks volumes.

About Heart of the Beholder

Set to screen Saturday April 22 and Monday April 24, “Heart of the Beholder” tells the story of how an enterprising young couple who owned the first videocassette rental store in St. Louis in 1981, was ruined by a group of religious fundamentalists because they were the only video store owners who dared to carry Martin Scorsese's controversial film, “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Targeted by a religious group called the Citizens For Decency, the couple stood up against relentless harassment, intimidation, and even death threats from the religious zealots who deemed such films as Taxi Driver, Agnes of God, Blazing Saddles, Animal House, Mr. Mom and SPLASH as obscene and eventually blackmailed the District Attorney into destroying the their business and family.

Unbelievable but true…Yes. The end of the story…No.

Enter: One-time video store owner-turned “Heart of the Beholder” writer, producer and director Ken Tipton, censorship executive-turned filmmaker and Executive Producer Darlene Lieblich and what turned out to be an attention-grabbing article on Film Threat entitled “How Not To Make It In Hollywood” about Tipton’s fruitless attempt to pitch his script to an A-lister while driving a limo.

Intrigued by the article and inspired by Tipton’s personal story of success and tragedy and gripping screenplay Lieblich, a more than 30 year veteran of the entertainment industry working mostly in Standards and Procedures as a censor, which she admits is ironic as she is “adamantly against censorship,” proceeded to mortgage her house to finance the film.

“Heart of the Beholder” showcases an all-star cast from television and film that participated in this production because of their passion for the quality of the screenplay and the message behind the movie. These stars reduced their normal pay to next to nothing so they could add their talents to this truly independent movie.

For further information, to request a screening copy of the film or to schedule a time to speak with filmmakers Ken Tipton and Darlene Lieblich or Michael Jamrock, please contact Lauren Lewis or Theo Dumont at Levine Communications Office (LCO).


Lauren Lewis

Vice President

310.300.0950 x238

818.970.0052 (cell)

Theo Dumont

310.300.0950 x236


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