• Report: #855368
Complaint Review:

Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List

  • Submitted: Sat, March 17, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, March 19, 2012

  • Reported By: Mikey — Lakewood Ohio USA
Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List
24021 Halburton Road Beachwood, Ohio United States of America

Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List NEO-PAL Listserve/bulletin board for the arts community Beachwood, Ohio

*Author of original report: Michael A. Miller's Response To Consumer Rebuttal #4

*General Comment: Replies/Rebuttals here are futile

*Author of original report: Re: Consumer Comment #5 (Michael A. Miller's response)

*Author of original report: MD's Definition of Defamation

*Author of original report: To MD (Youngstown): What's Done Is Done. That's Not The Issue.

*Author of original report: (Unnecessary) Clarification of Why I Filed This Report

*Consumer Comment: Mr. Miller's inaccuracies

*Author of original report: Fred Sternfeld's Rebuttal Is Untrue

*Consumer Comment: Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List

*Consumer Comment: Rebuttal to Mr. Miller

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: rebuttal to allegations

*Author of original report: Rebuttal to VB

*Consumer Comment: I call shennanigans

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The Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List (NEO-PAL) is a listerve for the members of the northerastern Ohio performing-arts community, and other disciplines, to post notices of arts-related activities. There are audition notices, openings, etc. that cover a spectrum.

After another subscriber sent me a harassing e'mail based on my response to a post, several other members have been attacking and harassing me for over 24 hours between March 16th and 17th. I responded privately to those e'mails. I unsubscribed from the list (which I had been debating doing anyway). After I unsibscribed, one of my detractors informed me my participation in the board had been banned.

I went to the board's Archives and read the post the administrator, Fred Sternfeld, had posted banning my participation in the board. He made an unsubstantiated claimt that I had threatened the subscribers I had communicated with independently. This is a false and defamatory allegation. Fred has yet to provide evidence of specific threats I allegedly made to anyone, and he has refused to publish a retraction. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/17/2012 03:53 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/northeast-ohio-performing-arts-list/beachwood-ohio-44122/northeast-ohio-performing-arts-list-neo-pal-listservebulletin-board-for-the-arts-commu-855368. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Michael A. Miller's Response To Consumer Rebuttal #4

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

Any incidences I was involved in  with anyone other than NEO-PAL subscribers or administration prior to 16 March 2012, as well as my means of expressing myself and what people think of me because of it arent relevant to the nature of my rip-off report. This complaint is merited because Fred Sternfeld committed an act of defamation against me. Now in addition to Fred libelling me twice (the second time being his claim that my assertions in my rip-off report are inaccurate,
thereby effectively calling me a liar), MD is piling on with an accusation that Ive expressed predatory inclinations. This, too, is both untrue and unproven.

Fred Sternfeld and his sidekick, Noah Budin, name themselves as moderators of the board. It was their duty to censor anything I submitted to the board, whether it was deliberate or accidental on my part. Im not to blame for the actual publication of comments that NEO-Pal users found offensive. Fred Sternfeld and Noah Budin are the ones who did a disservice to NEO-PALs subscribers, not me. By refuting my claims and trying to paint me as a threat, theyre throwing up a smokescreen to avoid taking responsibility for their negligence.

All private email correspondence I had with NEO-PAL subscribers since 16 March 2012 were in response to emails that they initiated that were full of foul language, threats, and derisive comments about my mental well-being that amount to untested diagnoses that wouldnt be true even if they were leveled by qualified clinicians. Im not violating anyones rights by verbally defending myself as I see fit. NEO-PAL is a technically a free service but it comes with a cost. in the form of Fred Sternfelds aggressive and redundant campaign for cash handouts., even though, according to FredSternfeld.com, an entity called Neopalohio Ltd. exists. I must point out that, although Noah Budin  made some claims against me about past matters that no one ever brought to my attention until recently, Fred didnt hesitate to accept my donation to the board the one time I was able to donate, even though Ive realized little if any benefit as a NEO-PAL subscriber, and he
certainly hasnt offered to refund it over the past few days. Im not surprised he would keep money from someone he considers unfit and unclean.     

Ive addressed my self-driven subscription versus my banishment from the board in another rebuttal.
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#2 General Comment

Replies/Rebuttals here are futile

AUTHOR: CA - (United States of America)

Continuing to discuss this matter here seems like a waste of time for everyone, including Fred and his supporters, and seems to just keep the issue alive and the original poster excited.  I think it's best to drop it and go on with our lives.  I suggest we all stop following & posting on this website and forget any of this happened, and concern ourselves with things that are WAY more important than the tsuris this one man has created.  Just my opinion.
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#3 Author of original report

Re: Consumer Comment #5 (Michael A. Miller's response)

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

The individual filing this complaint report posted an irrational tirade against an organization that was in no way connected to the thread then running.
I mentioned Beck Center and its artistic director as a point of rerference in the context of the issue I was adressing, which was how an aspiring actress was allegedly treated at an auditon. It was a perfectly relevant and perfectly rational reference, since, even though the actress felt offended by audition protocols at a different theater, Beck Center administration has had an impact on auditions at local community theaters. Just because it might not have
happened to you, doesnt mean it didnt happen. When I confronted the individual I was referencing with how he contributed to the downfall of true community theater in Cleveland, his only response (in writing) was something along the lines of Ha, ha. I bet that felt good to get it off your chest. with no denial of what I confronted him with. So, that reference
was perfectly germane.  
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#4 Author of original report

MD's Definition of Defamation

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

Defamation requires "an intentionally false statement that harms a person's reputation."

Fred Sternfeld made an intentionally false statement in publishing his claim that I behaved in a threatening manner. That could harm my reputation.    
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#5 Author of original report

To MD (Youngstown): What's Done Is Done. That's Not The Issue.

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

You've copied and pasted some text. You still haven't shown evidence of threatening or predatory behavior on my part because there hasn't been any and there won't be any issuing from me.

Again, my Rip-Off Report is based on unproven accusations made against me.
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#6 Author of original report

(Unnecessary) Clarification of Why I Filed This Report

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

Since no one who is rebutting to my rip-off report seems to be reading it, the reason I filed is based on statements that my e'mails were "threatening". That's a serious accusation, expecially when it's not true.

I couldn't care less about having been banned from NEO-PAL or the reasons for it. I unsubscribed hours before the banishment because I had been considering unsubscribing prior to the events of Friday, 16 March 2012 anyway. I was starting to realize how nonproductive and useless the board was as a resource for me personallyand I'm speaking only on my own behalf here. If it's useful to its subscribers and so its administrators can continue to wield authority over their little popedom, more power to them.

However, since I'm now a libel victim, I'm going to have to continue to defend myself and remedy the situation by the best means necessary to me for as long as it takes.

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#7 Consumer Comment

Mr. Miller's inaccuracies

AUTHOR: MD - (United States of America)

Some cold hard facts:

Mr. Miller posted, in response to a complaint by someone about rudeness at an audition, this:

 "I did theater from the 1970s until my last show in 1996. It's always been a cliquish, gated den of self-entered, backstabbing snobs with, seemingly, no way in. Unfortunately, the people who could benefit most from your remarks are the ones who will fail to recognize themselves. If the part was race-neutral and your granddaughter didn't fit the type, someone could have let her know. Or they could have read her to see if they could have used her in upcoming shows. Your granddaughter should bring this to the attention of the artistic director of the theater or the company so s/he knows how the organization is representing itself in the community. Since the downfall of community theater in northeastern Ohio thanks, in part, to a Beck Center's Tiny Emperor For Life, and organizations that used to be "community theaters" now referring to themselves as "emerging professional" companies because they had received grants that allowed them to pay stipends to hand-picked actors, there should be zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense. Never hesitate to call out oppression and face it down.

To which Ms. Collier replied: 

 "Excuse me, Mr. Miller, but what does this woman's grandchild's horrible experience (and, trust me, it is) have to do with some kind of vendetta you have against companies that will gladly pay a small stipend to show that they respect their actor's time? It seems like you have an ax to grind and I, for one, think you're barking up the wrong tree.

Ms. Withers-Evans: I'm so sorry to hear that happened to her, but please know that this community is a loving one. Sure, we're all human beings and people tend to get ahead of themselves - especially
in something as competitive as an audition - but I hope that she can learn that it's not her problem, it's theirs. I really hope she has the courage to step out there again and find a group worthy of her attention.

Amiee Collier"

To which Mr. Miller replied: [caps added by me to highlight the worst of it]   

 "Throw a stone in to a pack of dogs and the one who gets hit is the one who cries out."
-Hebrew saying

 "I never even heard of you until just now. So, obviously, none of my remarks had anything to do with youalthough, based on your confrontational tone, you must have a guilty association with something.

I referenced. SO PISS OFF, UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO COME TO LAKEWOOD AND SAY YOUR PIECE TO MY FACE.  I have zero tolerance for anybody disrespecting me in person for any reason. It doesn't make any difference that you're hiding behind a computer at a distance.

Save your commentary for NEO-PAL and whoever you're responding to AND MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS, B**CH." 

Ms. Collier's even-tempered reply:

"I guess you sure did tell me. no guilt at all, sir. I'm just standing up for my community as a whole. and, since your only involvement in this community is through NEohioPAL, I guarantee they know me even if you don't. so, maybe you should read the respectful tone I tried to offer you and then think before you speak." 

Mr. Miller's obscenity and hate-filled language was, of course, objected to by many people on the listserve.

Mr. Miller then began engaging in private emails to several individuals off the listserve, where Mr. Miller's hate rhetoric become worse, even more aggressive and hostile.  Again, these are all easy to document.

 If Mr. Miller's statements  cannot be considered, as stated by Mr. Sternfeld, "at the very least, rude, and at the very most, hate-filled and threatening," I don't know what can.  Perhaps Mr. Miller can come up with some Neohiopal members that agree with him, since so many seem to not to?

Defamation requires "an intentionally false statement that harms a person's reputation."  Mr. Sternfeld's statement is true, as you can see, and as boatloads of people will attest to.  I think Mr Miller, by using such hate-filled language, needs no help in damaging his reputation--he did it nicely all by himself.

It's all there in black and white, documented and seen by the thousands of people who read Neohiopal every day.  It's rather odd that he claims he can document otherwise.

I don't know this how this forum determines the truth of an accusation (or if it does at all) but please dismiss this spurious and groundless complaint as soon as possible.
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#8 Author of original report

Fred Sternfeld's Rebuttal Is Untrue

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

Fred Sternfeld's rebuttal represents the second incident ( that I know of) in which he has made a false and defamatory
statement against me. The first was when he alleged on NEO-PAL that I threatened people. It reads in part:

"[NEohioPAL] Effective Immediately, Michael A. Miller is Banned from Neohiopal Fred Sternfeld fredsternfeld at neohiopal.org Sat Mar 17 13:18:38 PDT 2012:

...His emails have been at the very least, rude and at worst, hate-filled and threatening." (end quote)

I never threatened anyone and, although Fred Sternfeld and his sidekick Noah Budin have repeatedly asserted that allegation, they have failed to produce evidence of any such threats.

The second defamatory and false statement that Fred has made against me is that I represented an  inaccurate account of the events of the last several days on [Freds] listserve.

My account of the events of this weekend is true and accurate. Further, I have a Gmail folder loaded with hostile, abusive and threatening emails that I received from several NEO-PAL subscribers that I received continuously over a period
that exceeded 24 hours, and repeatedly after I explicitly directed these correspondents to stop sending my emails.  Their writings included but werent limited to name-calling, swearing, threats, derisive remarks of a personal nature and demands for my address. Copies of these email are available upon request.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List

AUTHOR: Frederick Arthur - (United States of America)

I am a long time reader of NEOhioPAL.  It performs a vital service to the performing arts community in our region.  The individual filing this complaint report posted an irrational tirade against an organization that was in no way connected to the thread then running.  Someone responded to his posted attack expressing an opinion that was respectful, reasonable, and non confrontational.  Not only did the person filing this complaint report, attack the other individually personally, but he did so using language that has never before been used on the list.  The list, although it serves thousands of artists in the community is a private service that has every right to set the standards of the discourse presented on the list.  This individual's banishment from the list is an action I wholeheartedly support, and anyone reading this individual's postings will know why.  
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#10 Consumer Comment

Rebuttal to Mr. Miller

AUTHOR: MD - (United States of America)

Anyone who reads Mr. Miller's initial vitriolic comments can see that he is a very angry man with an ax to grind.  A quick Google brings up other instances of negative attack posts in forums, such as Cleveland Scene Magazine.

However, the issue is moot:  Regardless of who started the fight or how readers of Neohiopal responded, the Neohiopal listserve itself is a valued and respected service provided to the Northeast Ohio arts community--and it is provided FREE of charge.  

Flame posts will appear in any forum; that cannot be helped.  All a moderator/administrator can do is shut the thread down, and in extreme instances, ban the poster.

Fred Sternfeld has been exceptional diligent in removing posts that get out of hand like this.  I've been a member for years and rarely has a serious argument lasted a day before it is caught and the thread closed.  99.9% of posts are helpful and positive.  Only very rarely does something like this happen at all.

Through those occasional disagreements and flared tempers I have previously seen over these many years, I have never seen something on the level that Mr. Miller contributed.  You could randomly poll literally THOUSANDS of members; they would all agree that Mr. Sternfeld's listserve is a positive and responsibly managed gift to the community, and that Mr. Miller eminently deserved being prohibited from contributing more of his poison and predatory rhetoric.

This complaint is completely without merit.
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#11 REBUTTAL Owner of company

rebuttal to allegations

AUTHOR: Fred Sternfeld - (United States of America)

Neohiopal is an award winning, FREE performing arts news service that has been in existence for about 14 years and serves over 6000 subscribers. Awards, mission and faqs are here: http://www.fredsternfeld.com/neohiopal.htm.

I started Neohiopal as a free service to draw together and help the Northeast Ohio arts community. I have an excellent reputation in NE Ohio as an advocate for the arts, director, and educator:

Mr. Miller wrote abusive replies to multiple subscribers to Neohiopal. They contain profanity so I cannot reprint them here as that would violate your terms of service. Most of them can be found in the archive of messages for the period of March 16-17.

This is the first one to use profanity: http://lists.neohiopal.org/pipermail/neohiopal-neohiopal.org/Week-of-Mon-20120312/067346.html.  

Browse the other postings here: http://lists.neohiopal.org/pipermail/neohiopal-neohiopal.org/Week-of-Mon-20120312/date.html. 

These postings will show that no one attacked Mr. Miller. In fact, they will show quite the opposite. Multiple subscribers have been subjected to profane, abusive verbal attacks from Mr. Miller.  These various weblinks speak for themselves and make clear the absurdity of Mr. Miller's complaint, and inherently explain his banning from being a subscriber to Neohiopal.

There are other emails that were not sent via the list, but personally to members, and those members have forwarded the emails to me as documentation of Mr. Miller's abuse. Let me know if you would like me to send them to a particular email address for you to see them. Or, I can copy and print them in an addendum to this report. But they would contain profanity which would violate your terms of service.

Here are the three postings I sent to the list that dealt with this inflammatory situation:

Please let me know how I can get Mr. Miller's complaint removed from this website, as it would be patently unfair for my reputation or Neohiopal's reputation to be stained in any way from Mr. Miller's inaccurate account of the events of the last several days on my listserve. 
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#12 Author of original report

Rebuttal to VB

AUTHOR: Mikey - (USA)

If VB is the sorrespondent I think he is, this is what he sent in an e'mail to me. Googling his e'mail handle, I was able to determine that the following indicates a pattern of behavior that he has used on other chat boards:

"I strongly urge you to consider suicide. I'll even spring for some razor blades or a rope. Just let me know where to send them."

This is representative of the brand of harassment I received from the "upstanding" members of the community I'm complaining about for over 24 hours between March 16th and 17th. Nothing I wrote to anyone was threatening and certainly never approached this level of menacing. Accusations of threats continue to surface and they all remain unsubstantiated. Further, I kept ever e'mail NEO-PAL subscribers sent to me.  They're saturated with the very kind of content that NEO-PAL members are accusing me of sending to them.  
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#13 Consumer Comment

I call shennanigans

AUTHOR: VB - (United States of America)

The complaint is false. The complainer - completely unprovoked - attacked a poster using foul language and a threatening tone. Many other posters responded to him, and he came back at them with additional foul language and statements that could, indeed, make a person feel threatened. This person seems to be enjoying the controversy he created and is using this report here to "get back" at the owner of the listserv for banning him.

Basically, the complainer seems to be under the impression that this is 5th grade and he is a vengeful schoolgirl.
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