Top toy manufacturer, Ertl, is being condemned by the gay rights group OutRage! over its link up with British right-wing guru, Christopher Monckton, designer of its latest puzzle game, Eternity. The new game, which could net the company over £10 million in world-wide sales, is being launched shortly in the US.
Monckton has urged that the entire population of the United States and Britain should be compulsorily tested for HIV, and that everyone with the virus should be forcibly quarantined for life. He wants up to 3 million Americans and 30,000 Britons with HIV locked up permanently.
Ertl is the company that markets Postman Pat and Thomas the Tank Engine. It prides itself on a liberal, progressive reputation which, says OutRage!, makes the association with Monckton "ethically inappropriate" and "bound to be harmful to Ertl's corporate image".
OutRage! spokesperson Peter Tatchell warns: "Ertl could be the target of a boycott campaign if it continues the link with Monckton and goes ahead with the US launch of Eternity. There are plans for a glizty New York debut for Eternity in about two weeks, with Monckton being flown over to the US for the launch party.
"The Bank of Scotland and fashion house Laura Ashley were forced recently to cancel deals with right-wing US television evangelist Pat Robertson after protests against his homophobia by gay and human rights groups in Britain. This success shows the power of consumer boycotts to influence corporate policy. We hope Ertl will realise that associating with bigotry is bad for business.
"OutRage! has written to Ertl's Chief Executive, Bob Dods, at its global headquarters in Illinois, USA, urging the company to pull out of the deal with Monckton. If the US launch goes ahead, we are likely to join forces with American groups to spearhead a 'Don't buy Ertl' campaign", said Tatchell.
Monckton is a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and ex-chief leader writer of the London newspaper, The Standard. He is the designer of Ertl's latest multi-million pound money-spinner, the mystery puzzle, Eternity. Reputably impossible to solve, a prize of £1 million is being offered to anyone who comes up with a solution before 30 September 2000.
Launched in Britain on 2 July and priced at £29.99, Eternity is a highly sophisticated jigsaw, requiring players to fit 209 jagged green plastic pieces into a 12-sided grid.
Ertl's Managing Director in the UK is Robert Mann (01392-44.54.34), and its global Chief Executive is Bob Dods (+1-630 790 3507).
Monckton spelt out his solution to the AIDS crisis in an article in The American Spectator, January 1987:
"There is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life…Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month…all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently."
To prevent global HIV transmission, Monckton's article advises:
"Strict controls would be needed at all borders. Visitors would be required to take blood tests at the port of entry and would be quarantined in the immigration building until the tests had proved negative."
Responding to criticisms that quarantining such large numbers of people would be impossible, Monckton claimed:
"In the United States, between 1.5 and 3 million people are already carriers of AIDS. Isolation of so large a number of people would be an enormous and daunting task, though not altogether impossible…In Britain, my own country, only 30,000 carriers are known. Isolation of this comparatively small number would not be insuperably difficult."
Brother of Rosa Monckton, who is married to Dominic Lawson, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, and a former close friend and confidante of the late Princess Diana.
Member of the Downing Street Policy Unit 1982-86, advising the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Assistant Editor, Today newspaper 1986-87.
Chief leader writer, The Standard newspaper, 1987-92.
Member of the far right Conservative Family Campaign, which lobbied against abortion, sex education in schools, and lesbian and gay equality.
The Ertl Company
P.O. Box 500
Dyersville, IA 52040-0500, USA.
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