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Ex-Suspect Up On Billboards Richard Jewell’s Attorney Objects To Station’s Gimmick

SUNDAY, NOV. 3, 1996

A rock ‘n’ roll radio station that offered Richard Jewell a job is putting up billboards of the former Olympic bombing suspect next to the title of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Freebird.”

Jewell’s lawyers say WKLS never got permission for the signs, a half-dozen of which began going up around Atlanta this week. The station, which offered Jewell a job as a security guard, eventually plans to put up about 100.

“We have not agreed with any company or person to allow Richard Jewell’s likeness to be appropriated for financial benefit,” Jewell’s attorney Lin Wood said Saturday. “I’m not going to let someone do this to Richard and get away with it. The station is facing potential legal action.”

The signs show an artist’s rendition of Jewell next to the word “Freebird.” Among the lyrics of the Southern rock standard: “I’m as free as a bird, now; And this bird you cannot change.”

Jewell, 33, has been cleared by federal prosecutors in the July 27 bombing of Centennial Olympic Park that killed one person and injured more than 100 others. The former Olympics security guard was the only publicly named suspect in the investigation.

Michael Hughes, the station’s program director, said the billboard is merely a statement on current events and can’t be equated with financial gain. “It’s a parody billboard.”


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