Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The NBC News/Urban Outfitters/
Jesus Dress Up Magnets Controversy

I'm really quite overwhelmed with all that is going on right now. Lots of information is coming in every minute. The magnets are going fast so buy now if you hope to ever have a set of your own!

Your feedback, participation & support are appreciated.

Hello Bob,
your long time fan Melissa (A.K.A. Cyaneus) here, and I just saw the news about your magnets on MSNBC as well. Seems to be the same segment everyone else is referring to: a mallgoer is shocked and appalled when he stumbles across a Jesus Dress Up set at Urban Outfitters. Then there are a few clips of those that were shown the magnets in front of a camera, saying how disgusting and inappropriate they find Jesus Dress Up to be. Unfortunately MSNBC as well as the uninformed mallgoers thought that you'd made the magnets to capitalize on the popularity of "The Passion of the Christ," and couldn't see the humor involved. Jesus Dress Up was long before "The Passion," if only they knew ... they'd be even more dumbfounded.

I also really enjoyed seeing the expressions of would-be hatemailers live on TV! The consensus was that you're pretty sick--I couldn't help but think what a field day they'd have with your site. Additionally, the story on your magnets was shown right up against the one about missionaries being murdered in Iraq. No doubt to intensify the viewer's dislike for you, as it sort of lumps you in with the Iraqi shooters as a Jesus-bashin' America-hatin'

My parents, who do television news, say that you ought to talk to the folks who interviewed you. They'll at least give you a copy of the interview, if not a courtesy copy of the other segment. They do tend to be awfully stingy about that kind of thing, so I'm told. I'm going to try to tape it tonight, though, and I'll make you a copy if need be.


Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004
Subject: Dress Up Jesus

We've been doing several stories in the Philadelphia area about the dress-up jesus. Many locals are upset, in fact greatly offended by the magnet. So our follow-up stories are balanced, we'd like a responce from you and or your company. What is your reaction to the negative reactions we've received? Our follow-up is running today at 6pm

Michael Pecker

[I will be on this show 7pm tonight]

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004
Subject: interview reques

I am writing from WPHT radio in Philadelphia. As I see from your website you know that a local TV station reported on your magnetic Jesus product. We would like to have you on as a guest to talk about your product for a few minutes by phone if you are available. My contact info is below. Please get back to me when you can. Again, it would only take about 5 minutes of your time by phone if you are available. Have a good day.

Richard Sacco


Bob, you rock it to the max (to borrow lyrics from the late Wesley Willis)

I've been looking for the interview between MSNBC and yourself online but they seem to be slow putting it on thier site or thier attention span is extremely short and they've forgotten about you OR thier website simply sucks.

I'm a regular reader of your site from New Brunswick (in Canada... not NJ) and this, of course is the only access I have to the 'story.'

My roommate and I laughed ourselves silly at the first video feed we found after I heard that you were covered in Philly. It was great, I tells you. They were like ants in a shaken ant-farm. I thought the guy in the story who wrote the letter to Urban Outfitters was going to cry or something.

Keep up the great work, Bob. You're one of the best web designers around. I hope one day to meet with you in a professional capacity.

Mitch Stewart

Subject: The flaming of their life!

Damn, Bob. I'm that insane person who sent in the "Nathan" story. I've actually been a fan of yours for ages, and I've sent in emails before that. I cannot believe the shit NBC is putting you through.

And Urban Outfitters recalling their stock is just disgusting. I took it upon myself to bestow the flaming of their life on those idiots, and this is the result of a combination of PMS, too much caffiene and a stuck Shift key.

"FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU, NBC! Robert had those out years before that fucking "Movie" came out, you just didn't fucking care then, did you?! No, if something doesn't fit in with your fucking standards it has to be picked apart!

You're no better than a schoolyard bully, poking fun at the kid with pimples, or the black kid.

You're descriminative! You're cruel! And I'll fucking bet you're racist too! There are only two kinds of people I can't stand- people who are intolerant of other peoples beliefs, and the FUCKING BOB HATERS!

Apologize NOW, or I shall take serious action! Hell, I don't know what! A naked protest or something.

It's not important. Just fucking apologize. You've ruined this man's primary source of income.

How do you like that, NBC?! You've fucking ruined his life! Apologize to Bob, or at least give him a fucking plug!

Show that you're really Christians and beg forgiveness! Bob probably has better morals than you- rodents!"

I was kinda hoping to put "God bless you" on the end, just for the irony aspect... but I ran out of room.

I propose that some of the 1337 h4x0rz that visit your site should take action against NBC. The title page changed entirely to plug here? A big "Fuck you" in red letters? Or maybe even pictures of my nude protest! If this shit isn't settled, I'm going to go to America and protest in the nude. I am.

And I'll bring a camera. Your loyal minion, Crystal.

More publicity:
MJ Mornng Show,

Subject: Magnets / MSNBC

Hey Brutha

As you mentioned on the phone, I just got done watching a brief segment on Urban O. and the magnets on this guy's show.

Your segment was number 1 on the countdown. They zoomed in on your whitie-tighties on Jesus and made some crack about the earliest Jesus could have been wearing those was 1935... when they were invented. He tried to make it sound funny, anyway. They made no mention of NormalBobSmith. Anyway, this is the kind of publicity that will work in your favor.... right? Are you ready?

Gotta get to bed.
Your Brother Chris
(i recorded the segment on tape, by the way)

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 00:59
Subject: Another Radio Show Talking about you

Hey Bob,

I just wanted to let you know Todd Scnitt of the Schnitt show on Clear Channel Communications 610 WIOD in Fort Lauderdale Forida: brought your Magnets up today on his show. Here is the link to his site where he posted images of your magnets. Worst of all he was too Chicken Shit to even give out the name of your site on the air. as well as making sure your copyright is barely ledgible at the bottom of the magnet sheet.

A Fan,

Tue, 16 Mar 2004 23:04:25 EST
Subject: You're on National TV NOW!


I'm hoping to be the first to tell you that you are now being criticized on national TV. I just watched a show called Scarborough Country on MSNBC and they all took a dump over you for about five or ten minutes. It was great to see and I felt compelled to get online and send you an e-mail about and play Jebus dress up some more. Congratulations, the head of the American Catholic League and Ed Koch both blasted you. You should try to make an appearance on this guy's show if possible so that those of us not living in Philly can see the devil man in all his glory. Extra props to Urban Outfitters too for not backing down to these bullies.


Tue, 16 Mar 2004 18:14:27 -0500
Subject: Jesus Dress Up magnets

Hi Bob

As much as I don't want to do this we need to cancel po#100020908 for 200 units of the Magnetic Jesus Dress Up. We are not allowed to sell this due to the extremely negative feedback the stores have been receiving. We were told corporately all orders need to be canceled.

Once again I am very sorry for the inconvenience.

Thank you,
Urban Outfitters

Posted: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 noon

It's official. Urban Outfitters will no longer carry my magnets.
They don't want the negative press.

You can contact them here.

Normal Bob Smith

Subject: NBC10 vs. NormalBobSmith.com

Bob, Just saw the segment. It was about what you'd expect. They didn't mention the web site and only played about 20 seconds of your voice. I guess it was a busy news day. It snowed here today and the Eagles got Terrell Owens.

They intro'd it as a Channel 10 exclusive, and mentioned that only their station got the interview. Big surprise; only they created the story. After your clip, the announcer said that (paraphrasing) ≥Smith claims to be an atheist.≤ I guess they never looked at the website. And they claim to be reporters.

Gary Waltrich

Subject: MSNBC

Those bastards found your magnets at Urban Outfitters, freaked out, and gave all the credit to them! The funny part was that they were so offended that they bought one! Then took it to the street to offend other people on camera! One guy claimed it was cashing in after the passion movie, while the final coment was "it seems pretty harmless". I wish you had got a plug.

Love your site
Trevor Lee

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004
Subject: More news for you!

OK, I don't know if you know this yet, but the NBC stations in Florida and Texas have taken up the story as well. They posted them about an hour ago. Crazy, huh?

You're just SO popular. I would recommend forgetting Texas though.

There's another clip on your Jesus Dress Up. Wow, Bob. This was a four panel discussion. They said some crazy shit. They were talking schmack about a dress up Muhammad or some crap. In all it was pretty rude and guarantees about a million more hits for you. Idiots.

Anyway, I forgot to tell you that on Scarborough last night while they threw their bitch-fest about your magnets, one guys starts to raise his voice about Urban Outfitters. He said when he called them to tell them to stop selling them UO told him no. He said that showed how much they don't care about the American public or some crap. Bonkers is what it was. So, either this guy is lying, or UO lied to you. I can't wait to find out which! Both are jerks either way. And I think it's funny they were all so pissed about the devil outfit and the hula skirt..you'd think it would be the coconut bra. But what do I know?

Those crazy bastards will hang your ass.

Love, April

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004
Subject: Jesus Dress Up on MSNBC

I'm not a regular visitor of your website but I was watching TV earlier and recognized the Jesus Dress Up magnets from your site.

Just to let you know, in case you already don't, that the NBC report about the Jesus Dress Up magnets was apparently picked up by MSNBC and shown on "MSNBC Live" at about 3:30 or so eastern time (where I saw the report). I only caught the end of it, so I don't know if you were even referenced as the creator of the magnets or not. I emailed both MSNBC and NBC10 in Philly to complain about the report. I won't bother retyping those emails, but my complaints were mainly in regards to the report's false implications that the magnets were created post-passion of the christ, the selective interviewing by the reporter, and the MSNBC anchors' feigning mild shock at the story.

Benjamin Halladay

Letters of support sent to NBC Philly

Mr. Shimmel,

I saw your news clip today about Jesus Dress-Up. I thought there were a few things you should know before you try to makes news out of something.

Jesus Dress-Up has been around for AGES! Seriously. I have played it for about 2 years now and I know others have played it for much longer. It was a website before it was a magnet, did you know that? After watching your "news" clip/interviews, I thought I should point a few things out so the next time you get it all right.

Also, when letting others compare The Passion of Mel to a Jesus magnet, please note that Mel's Christ is covered in gaping wounds and blood, while Jesus Dress-Up is only covered in silly outfits. It's called perspective, see? I thought maybe you could use a little of it to keep your news coverage "fair and balanced". Or is it true that only FOX cares about that stuff?

Please visit Jesus Dress-Up at jesusdressup.com. Research what you are talking about before you actually commit it to tape. You'll look a lot better on air in the long run.

Thank You,

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004

I would like to congratulate you on this scale of publicity. There is no such thing as bad publicity. I wrote the following response to NBC-10 in Philly after reading your update about the news story. Then I was poking around on their site and found this: http://www.nbc10.com/news/2922892/detail.html Just wanted to make sure you saw this. They even have a gallery, displaying images of your Jesus DressUp magnets, bordering on, if not racing across 40 packed in a pickup truck, copyright infringement. Well, here's my message to Channel 10. I'll let you know if they reply:

Hello, I saw your broadcast on the Jesus Dressup Refrigerator magnets carried by Urban Outfitters. I was horribly disappointed to see people blaming the creator of the magnets as trying to cash in on the ridiculous wave of publicity surrounding Mel Gibson's, "The Passion of the Christ."

The creator of these magnets, who goes by the Moniker Normal Bob Smith, is a brilliant artist, who created the Jesus Dressup Magnets long before Passion of the Christ was ever a gorey mind pollutant across the cinemas of this nation. Bob's websites, JesusDressUp.com and NormalBobSmith.com have become a web sensation thanks to the popularity of the web-version of Jesus Dressup. It has earned Bob much acclaim, earning him name brand recognition and an inteview on Mancow's syndicated radio show, to mention one achievement. To consider Jesus Dressup exploitation of the popularity of the ghastly snuff of Mel Gibson's violent filmmaking is not only absurd, it's obscene. I for one would appreciate a follow-up story on this magnetic phenomenon, for clarification for the public, and for the artist's sake.

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004
So much for balanced coverage, eh? Of course the magnets get a bad review if you ask people leaving The Passion of the Christ--those are the people so 'religious' that they find the experience of watching the man brutalized and killed an awe-inspiring good time. Since the game was available for sale long before The Passion came out (I got mine last fall), the effort to connect the things together seems to reflect the station's desire to cash in on The Passion itself, boosting ratings by figuring out a way to bring it up.

Lake talks about the "outrage over a sacred symbol sold for laughs." Would he talk about the outrage of a sacred animal being turned into hamburger? For the people actually buying Jesus Dress-Up, Christ is no more a sacred symbol than cows are a sacred animal. Shimell goes on that "it may seem kind of innocuous...until you actually buy one of these things and sit down and study just exactly what is depicted here." Again, it is obvious what it is when you look at it--if people don't like it, they don't buy it. I didn't notice anyone around shoving it into unsuspecting shoppers' bags.

Thanks to freedom of speech and religion, we don't all have to have the same interests, buy the same things, or find the same things sacred. Those are the freedoms the press is supposed to enjoy and support--not trash, by inferring that anyone with a different view must be sick.

Christian Walther

Subject: Dress Up Jesus

Hello there,

I watched your segment on Normal Bob Smith's "Dress Up Jesus" toy on your website (http://www.nbc10.com/). I found your report biased and rather ironic in a number of ways.

First of all, who is bandwagoning here? The Jesus Dress Up site has been around for almost four years, yet you're only reporting on it now in wake of the popularity of "The Passion"? Perhaps in the future you should do more research before airing your news reports.

Secondly, how is the bloody, violent depiction of the crucifixion popular in the past half-millennium or so any better than Jesus Dress Up? When I was a child, one of my Christian relatives gave me a children's bible containing graphic images of stonings, beatings, and Christ dying on the cross. To me, this is just another example of the hypocrisy of Christians, who apparently believe that NC-17 level violence is okay to show to children as long as it supports their own agenda of religious brainwashing.

I would rather my children play with Jesus Dress Up (which, in fact, they have) than watch a film which would be rated NC-17 if it was about anything other than Jesus Christ.

Lisa Krause
Huntington, MA

Hate Mail for the fans! I don't have time for these right now! Feel free to answer them yourselves!
(Yeah, it's a contest or something. Who fucking cares?!?)


Bob - you are sick when you chose this subject to dress in those idiotic outfits! Stick to your usual silly stuff and don't desecrate Jesus! cjm



Bob - you are sick when you chose this subject to dress in those idiotic outfits! Stick to your usual silly stuff and don't desecrate Jesus! cjm


i know you think this is funny, but i know its not right. is there any reason to make fun of the begotten son of God? give all people who believe in God and Jesus and the Blessed virgin mary out of satans little world...we do not need it.

God Bless and may God have mercy on your soul.


I am absolutely appauled with the dress up Jesus game that you have created. You are making a mockery of a religion, and may I remind you that in doing so you may be excersing your freedom of speech, but you are also offending MANY people's religion,(which are grounds for a lawsuit in the US.) You are offending a majority not a minority. I'm sure that you would love to entertain the idea that Christians are a thing of yesterday and the new homosexual liberal way of thinking is taking over, well guess what buddy your'e absolutely wrong, and ya know what, you dont make Christians mad, you make them STRONGER, and we will overcome, because with God all things are possible.

and God Bless,

Subject: Jesus dress-up magnet

I assume you have no fear of God. This is the height of mockery and blasphamy. Do you have any spiritual beliefs? I will pray that God will open your spiritual eyes.Beware, by creating and selling this you not only mock our God and make mockery of His sacrifice, but are also causing others to make mockery of God. You, are on a very dangerous path!! I will pray for you.

Yours in Christ,
Joan Price

hey there. look i didn't appreciate what you did. Not only did you offend me but you offend over 4 million other christians, catholics, prostestants .etc... How would you like it, if someone exposed some disturbing pictures or creating such an object that offended your personal beliefs, or maybe even your family....well i hope not...but its not fair to everyone who has there beliefs..And haven't you ever heard of respect?! i don' think so...So exactly what i said if someone would expose the same thing to you..well im sure you wouldn't admire it..i just hope you'll understand...May God Bless your soul.

Connor MacLeod

Subject: Hello Fuckface

I just witnessed your website on a local television station. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you on your honesty; not many aids-infested losers can rise to the occassion.

I think you should have your penis sliced off and then we can dunk you in rubbing alcohol. We can feed your penis to the dog; as an appetizer.

In closing, tell you mother I need my money. And tell you father he gives great headache.

Fuck you and yours,
Ritchie the Bitchie

Richard Armstrong

Subject: Gosh

You are one sad Fuck. Forget Jesus, forget ignorance, you're just arrogant. I would probably ejaculate upon hearing of your death. I can only wish you misery, poor health, poverty and continued ignorance. I have an idea for a new doll.

It's called "Let's Do Bob". The doll looks just like you and it comes with the following accessories; a bat, a gun, a hammer, a knife, a tire iron, a crowbar, a rifle, a hachet, a lead pipe, a tazer, a switchblade, an ice pick, an anvil, heavy duty chains, a scalpel, a syringe (for lethal injections only), and a bible, to pray your ass into hell when the game is over.

We should meet sometime for coffee, Ritchie the Bitchie

Richard Armstrong

Subject: Dressup Jesus?

Yes you area total nutcase. Takes a total nutcase to post something as blatantly blasphemous, as doggedly disgusting as your website. Can't imagine someone getting pleasure of any kind from doing what you're doing.... not anyone of a NORMAL mental faculty. I just hope parents are monitoring what their kids are doing on the computer so they aren't influenced with garbage like your website. Don't bother responding - you'll be filtered as spam.


I suppose you create these websites solely for the controversy. You can never please all people but is anything sacred anymore? I guess not.

I can't expect anyone else to hold the symbols or centers of my faith as respectful or as valuable as I do, but I can at least share my belief that it is disrespectful to most Christians. If it isn't offensive to all Christians it should be since we are called "Christ"ians because of the very Jesus you cast ridicule upon on the jesusdressup.com site.

I just wanted to drop a note to say I'm praying for you and that the Jesus you put humorous clown suits on loves you and died for you too.

Tonya Hatfield

Subject: hey

i hope u go to hell for this stupid shit


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