fyi (fwd)

Gary Handman (
Tue, 5 May 1998 10:32:02 -0700 (PDT)

Remember our continuing discussing about the "odd" business practices of
Mun Wah Lee ("Color of Fear") and his Stir Fry on,

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 09:58:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ron Choy <>
Subject: fyi

<fontfamily><param>Times</param><bigger><bigger>Date: Fri, 01 May 1998

From: "Wendy R. Cutler" <<>

Subject: Lee Mun Wah (fwd)


About Lee Mun Wah and Stir Fry Seminars and Consulting

April 15, 1998

Endorsed by the following cast members of the film "The Color of Fear":
David Christiansen, Victor Lewis, Yutaka Matsumoto, Loren Moye, Hugh

Five years ago (1993), 8 men were invited to participate in a unique
documentary film project called The Color of Fear (TCOF). This was To
be a ground breaking conversation about racism whose primary purpose
for being was to be a gift and a service to "The Community." Some TCOF
cast members raised money at as many as 10 public screenings set up to
generate funding and public support for the success of the film. Most
cast members supported TCOF based on several promises from Mr. Lee, all
centering around the theme of community service and "giving something
back." These promises have proven to be false.

Disgruntled cast members kept relatively silent about these 4 years of
conflict in the interest of not tarnishing reputation and the original
vision of the project. Several efforts at informal negotiation and
formal mediation have proved fruitless. From the beginning, Mr. Lee has
engaged in a consistent pattern of exploitation, deceit, and bad faith
dealings with most TCOF cast members. Legal advisors have told them
that they can beat Mr. Lee in court on the strength of their case, if
they have $200,000 to invest in a lawsuit. Lacking these kinds of
resources, unlike Mr. Lee, their only hope for justice is that through
a public outcry, that Mr. Lee be persuaded to "walk" his empty
"justice-loving" talk.

Here are a just a few of the issues:

* Mr. Lee created Stir Fry Seminars and Consulting through gross
exploitation of members of the TCOF cast, including: withholding from
cast members his intent to form a private business (because cast
members would become his "competition"), while using their professional
contacts, unpaid labor, knowledge and reputations to raise more than
$50,000 to pay for the film and develop his first diversity trainings.
More than $20,000 was raised by cast members outright.

* Mr. Lee, breaking long-standing verbal promises to particular cast
members, refused permission to any cast members to use or screen TCOF
outside of their homes, or for the purpose of diversity trainings, paid
or volunteer, until July of 1997, unless they paid him 10-30% of their
gross earnings on any workshops conducted for a fee and agreed to other
"strict guidelines."

* Walking Each Other Home, The Color of Fear II: The Dialogue Continues
(absurdly titled, under the circumstances), was edited in secret using
the original TCOF footage, without the involvement or knowledge of the
cast. There was NO continued dialogue. It is not a true sequel, but a
re-hash. A Stir Fry consultant working on the project leaked news of
the project to cast members, after the film was completed. Mr. Lee did
not seek permission from cast member to use their images in a second

* Most of the cast agreed to participate in the film, without
compensation, because Mr. Lee repeatedly assured the cast that this
film was a community service project and that proceeds from the film
would primarily go back to the community to support other projects in
the interest of justice and multicultural solidarity. He also promised
free use of the film by cast members and a share of residual financial
benefits, such as consulting referrals. Instead, proceeds were used for
his personal and exclusive financial enrichment, a purpose that the
cast would not have supported.

* Mr. Lee and the cast were invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show
in the midst of a period of heated conflict and negotiations. Those
cast members in conflict with Mr. Lee agreed to appear on the show and
to set aside their conflicts with him under the condition that Mr. Lee
would promise to share all business referrals resulting from the show
equally with interested cast members, and to agree in principle to an
eleven point settlement proposal. Of nearly 500 calls received on the
day of the nation-wide broadcast, cast members received only one
referral. Every concession agreed to from the settlement proposal was
reversed, after the taping of the show.

* The issues between aggrieved members of the cast and Mr. Lee are
rooted in issues of class, not race or ethnicity. This conflict is a
struggle against economic exploitation, NOT an inter-ethnic conflict
amongst people of color on a level playing field. Mr. Lee believes that
is entitled to all of the proceeds from the film, and that the cast has
not rights in this matter, unless granted by him. The cast disagrees.

* Cast members objected to Mr. Lee's move to using the proceeds of the
film to build his commercial empire. Since all efforts to correct this
unfortunate turn have failed, cast members are demanding that they be
compensated for their contributions to his financial success. He has
consistently refused or deflected all appeals for financial
consideration to cast members even though he has grossed no less than
$761,000 from the sale of TCOF, not including the $5000 per day
consulting fees that he has enjoyed as a near monopoly for the last
several years.

* The demand by cast members for compensation is strictly based on Mr.
Lee's decision to use TCOF as primarily an instrument of profit. If Mr.
Lee's original altruistic promises had been kept, the cast would gladly
forgo financial compensation.

To Resolve the Conflict

The cast members calling for a boycott have agreed to consider all
conflicts resolved if:

1. Mr. Lee and Stir Fry Seminars & Consulting provides to each
interested cast member a 2% royalty (paid retroactive to the earliest
sales records available) on the GROSS REVENUE of TCOF and TCOF II. The
2% royalty share of any cast member(s) declining his portion is to be
evenly divided between those cast members expressing interest in
receiving royalties. The 2% royalty will also apply to any other
product that you have developed or will develop for sale in the future
that bears the image, likeness or utterances of TCOF cast members
(whether the production media is recorded film, video, or audio tape,
written material, printed matter, still photographs or any other media
not mentioned).

2. Mr. Lee and Stir Fry Seminars & Consulting agrees in writing to
cease and desist with all legal harassment, threats of legal harassment
or general interference in the free use by cast members of any TCOF
product utilizing images, likenesses, or utterances of cast members in
pursuit of their own personal, business and community services goals.

What You Can Do:

1. Respect the Humanity of Mr. Lee and all Stir Fry staff. The staff,
in particular, know that there is justice in our cause and should not
be blamed for Mr. Lee's abuses.

2. Ask Mr. Lee and all Stir Fry spokespersons to explain how racial
harmony and gross economic exploitation can coexist in the work of Mr.
Lee and Stir Fry Seminars and Consulting. Call, write, fax, email and
visit Mr. Lee at his place of work to express your outrage with his
pattern of mistreatment and exploitation.

3. Urge Mr. Lee to accept the demand for a 2% royalty and cast member
freedom from his continued legal harassment and all further
interference in the lives or business efforts of cast members.


5. Distribute this boycott announcement through all channels of

6. Check out our web site at

7. Forward a copy of this alert to Mr. Lee's email address, and fax a
copy to his office. It is crucial that Mr. Lee know that the eyes of
the world will be upon him until he agrees to a just settlement.

To Contact Lee Mun Wah:

Stir Fry Seminars and Consulting

470 Third Street

Oakland, CA 94607

Toll Free: (800) 370-STIR

FAX: (510) 419-3934


Wendy R. Cutler, PhD

Training Coordinator

Northwestern University

Counseling and Psychological Services

633 Emerson Street

Evanston, IL 60208-4000

(847) 491-2151

Ron Choy. AmerCult Ctr, 120 Wheeler #1050, UCBerkeley 94720-1050. 510

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