Supporters of Martha Stewart are defending the domestic diva—under scrutiny for alleged insider trading—on the Internet.
Save Martha! at www.savemartha.com was launched on July 8 amid negative publicity Stewart was receiving as a result of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of insider trading of ImClone stock.
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The site has gotten coverage in Newsweek, National Enquirer, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, even the Bangkok Post.
“This site’s purpose is to provide a forum for fans of Martha Stewart and to debate the fairness of the treatment and media coverage she is receivingin a balanced manner, and to explore ways to help Martha and her brand weather the storm,” writes John Small, editor of Save Martha!
Small goes on to defend Stewart as a victim of her own success in a male-dominated executive world.
“If the latest news headlines prove anything, they reveal that the idea of the female executive in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />America is under attack,” Small writes. “There is a growing hostility among some towards powerful women in business.”
Small writes that he’s unsure of the truth of the allegations, but that is his point. Stewart, he writes, “has already been tried and convicted in the press.”
And Small doesn’t appreciate the Stewart jokes of late-night comedians. He cites David Letterman as an example:
“By the way, before I came out here, I received a phone call from Martha Stewart and she asked me if I would make an announcement for Martha. And she just wants all of her stockholders to know that those stock certificates can be made into lovely place mats.”
Save Martha! offers the latest news headlines, links for talking back to the media about their portrayal of Stewart, and several polls.
At the site, one can also help spread the Save Martha! message by sending this pre-worded e-mail to friends:
“How much money have top execs at Enron, Global Crossing and Tyco cost investors? $20 Billion. How much did Martha save by selling stock when she did? $20 Thousand. Questions? Tell the media to focus on the really bad guys and leave Martha alone.”
Small, an author and business strategist, even offers a five-step plan for saving Stewart. It involves:
- sending out the above e-mail;
- putting Save Martha! links on your site;
- talking back to the media;
- letting Stewart’s business partners know you still support her;
- sporting Save Martha! shirts, mugs and other accessories available at the Save Martha! online store.
Stewart sold almost 4,000 shares of ImClone stock on Dec. 27, 2001, the day before the Food and Drug Administration announced it would not review ImClone’s new cancer drug, Erbitux.
After the announcement, ImClone shares plunged. Stewart made $228,000 from the sale, according to Newsweek. If she had sold after the FDA’s announcement, she would have lost $43,000.
Stewart has denied wrongdoing, saying she had a previous agreement with her broker to dump the shares if they sunk below $60.