Head of Center for Consumer Freedom Called a "Despicable Man" by His Own Son

Jan 26th, 2009 by Will Potter

Rick Berman has no shortage of enemies. He and his various front groups have been the hired guns for a laundry list of nasty corporations, smearing anyone for a buck (including Mothers Against Drunk Driving or, as Stephen Colbert calls them, "O-mamma bin Laden"). I’ve written here about one of his groups, the Center for Consumer Freedom, and their campaigns to smear activists as "eco-terrorists" and "animal rights terrorists." (And we’ve also linked them to terrorism).

So it’s not really breaking news when unions, animal groups, environmentalists and everyone else targeted by Berman rails against him. But the most scathing attack on Berman I’ve ever read comes from his own son.

His son, David Berman, was the head of the band the Silver Jews. When the band broke up, David Berman wrote on Drag City message board, saying "I’ve always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan." (Stereogum had this story first. Thanks to Liz and Justin for the tip.)

Here’s an excerpt:

"Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:

My father.

You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons.

My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.

An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical motherfucking son of a bitch. (sorry grandma) …

A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.

He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We’ve been "estranged" for over three years."

He goes on to say: "He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke. He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers… This winter I decided that the SJs were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know. Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you."

David Berman’s feeling about his father’s work are so strong that he announced he is quitting music.

"Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world," he wrote. "But there is the matter of justice. And I’ll tell you it’s not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns. It hurts. There needs to be something more. I’ll see what that might be."