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Real World Lashes Out Against 'Real World' and Spurious Arrests

CHICAGO, Jul. 24 - Speaking at a press conference this morning two representatives of the Wicker Park Real World Consortium lashed out at Viacom's "Real World," currently airing on MTV. Salem Collo-Jullin and Nato Thompson responded to questions from a Fox News anchor, explaining why they were outside the Real World house on Saturday.
CHICAGO, Jul. 24 - Speaking at a press conference this morning two representatives of the Wicker Park Real World Consortium lashed out at Viacom's "Real World," currently airing on MTV. Salem Collo-Jullin and Nato Thompson responded to questions from a Fox News anchor, explaining why they were outside the Real World house on Saturday.

"Well, we were making a stink about the fact that a multi-billion-dollar corporation is turning everyone's lives into an advertisement for real estate and supposed urban renewal in Chicago," said Nato.

"What's important to realize is that multinational corporations of media and the city--it's hard to untangle the two. We protested against the 'Real World' and immediately we felt the city upon us--for us it's kind of hard to say which one's the city and which one's the Real World."

Salem added, "The problem is when a corporation like Viacom comes in and feels that they represent a neighborhood simply because they have the dollars to represent the neighborhood. I think it's unfair when the city starts giving resources over because the corporation calls them up and says, 'We need your support.'"

Fox News was unable to get a statement from MTV, but the anchor read a statement from the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce which said that there was an accusation that personal property was destroyed and that the privacy of the people who live in that building had been compromised.

"Whose rights were cast aside?" Nato responded. "My friend Ian here has a giant bump on his head. His head bounced off the sidewalk. We're just citizens concerned who live here. These [Real World] people don't live here. They're shipped out from all over the country--this is crazy."

"I was writing comments on the sidewalk with chalk. Within minutes Sergeant Crawford came by and immediately arrested me. You can call it a protest, but there wasn't even any chanting. I was just simply writing on the sidewalk--people were milling about."

Alleging that the Chicago Police are under the thumb of Viacom, Brett Bloom posted an open letter to WGN on the Chicago Independent Media Center (CIMC) website in which he says that a police officer at the scene told him that a certain politician put in a call to the Chicago Police Department. The politician was apparently under pressure from Viacom to "bring things to a fast resolution."

Alexander G. Lynn testified in a statement on the CIMC site that Sergeant Crawford initiated an attack on people on the sidewalk who were not committing any crimes nor blocking sidewalk access. He alleges that, "One man was badly injured when police knocked him into a plate glass window while trying to reach another demonstrator. While the man was lying on the ground, a police officer hit him in the head several times and arrested him, seemingly for the crime of being in the way and getting knocked down. This man was denied any medical treatment while in jail for approximately nine hours."

Salem articulated why the Wicker Park Real World Consortium came together.

"Well, we do have two goals. And I think being here will help those goals. Our first goal is that MTV end its production and leave Chicago. Our second goal is that this building is taken over and used for affordable housing--"

Her words were drowned out by the cheers of supporters behind her.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that people in this neighborhood have a say of what goes on on their streets."
 
 

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