Mary Hart isn't Kidding
  Daniel Vest

Former Entertainment Tonight anchor and motorcycle enthusiast Mary Hart has denounced the recent attack on The Wringer that left 10 of its staff dead and 3 injured, but she says satirical portrayals of celebrities, like those found in the Chicago-based Web magazine, should be illegal.

Hart said it should be against the law to publish material that depicts celebrities in a derogatory way. “Of course I defend freedom of speech, but it has to be balanced. There has to be a limit. There has to be a code of conduct.”

“I think any kind of mocking or use of offensive language about a celebrity does not constitute freedom of speech in any way at all. These stars give so much of themselves through their artistry and their charitable work, that they are really to be looked up to,” she elaborated. “When you mess with that, you risk upsetting a large number of their followers and you get incidents like this one. Respect should be paid.”

Hart thinks there should be limits placed on freedom of speech to prevent the publication of offensive material. Her prime example of such content is also the catalyst for the attack, The Wringer’s controversial Photoshop job of reality icon Kim Kardashian that recast her as a buttless freak, a spread that many critics labeled tasteless and a disgrace. “They have stolen the source of her [Kardashian’s] power,” wrote an irate Jon Stewart in a New York Times op-ed piece, “and turned her into an object of ridicule… What is sacred anymore?”

Hart agreed with the critics. “This was a terrible tragedy,” she said of the shooting. “This was also a preventable tragedy. The magazine desecrated Kim, first of all. She should not have been put through that. I’m not saying anyone deserved to die,” she clarified. “The attack itself was horrible. I know Kim would not condone it and all her true fans denounce it too.”

Hart said the work of The Wringer, which has been threatened in the past for its caricatures of such celebrities as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, is offensive and based on lies that have reduced all those who find purpose in idolization of the stars to a “cult” of celebrity. Instead of looking at the few disturbed individuals who commit acts of violence, the focus should remain on the celebrity worshippers who are peaceful, she said. “This is why shows like Entertainment Tonight are needed now more than ever,” she concluded. “It puts the spotlight back on what matters, like Charlie Sheen’s reach-out program to young hookers, or Miley Cyrus’s work with the homeless.”

Though Hart is no longer an anchor for the venerable program, she is quite the busy woman these days, having recently completed a cross-country trip with hubby Burt on their matching Harleys for an upcoming TLC show, Hart of the Hog. In addition, the beloved personality, 64, who once famously insured her legs for $1 million each, also recently signed an endorsement deal for Spanx. Though literally no one would argue she has any personal need for the product whatsoever, Hart said she still hopes to show her fans that “women of any age can have it all: beauty, brains and a fabulous pair of shapely legs.”

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