Daily Herald fires writer over story on 'Rumors'

Deseret News, 22 August 2003

Article Summary:

Eric D. Snider, a Daily Herald columnist, was fired 19 August 2003 for violating the paper's ethics policy.  In a news story on 8 August 2003, Snider referred to a "mysterious" source which alerted copyright monitor Samuel French Inc. of the Pleasant Grove Theater's plans to remove obscenities from the Neil Simon play "Rumors."  Snider, however, was quoting himself.

"There was a lapse in judgment made where I ought to have said up front there might be a conflict of interest - someone else should write the story," said Snider.

The play was scheduled to open 14 August 2003 for a two-week run, but was cancelled after Simon revoked the theater's rights to perform the play unless the script remained intact.

Snider said he was curious about the legality of changing a copyrighted script, so he anonymously called Samuel French Inc.  The letter the company sent to the Grove Theater indicated they were acting on information from Simon's attorney.  "I was under the impression it was not because of me they were acting," Snider said.

Brent Merritt, a Daily Herald employee who was slated to be the lead in the Grove's production of "Rumors," also called Samuel French Inc., Snider said.

Speaking of Merritt, Gayliene Omary, one of the owners of the Grove Theater, said, "I don't know his intentions. . .  I just wonder why he felt so compelled to do that and not to come to us first.  It almost seems like he contrived a story; made up a story to excite things."