Tratto da: http://tobaccofreekids.org/reports/insider/timeline.shtml
The following information regarding Jeffrey Wigand, his employment at Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company (B&W), his interactions with 60 Minutes and his deposition in Mississippi were culled from media reports, legal transcripts, the Internet and Dr. Wigand himself.
B&W hires Wigand as Vice President for Research and Development, ostensibly to develop a safer cigarette.
Wigand attends a meeting of B&W and British-American Tobacco (B&W’s parent company) scientists in Vancouver, British Columbia to discuss the development of safer cigarettes. Wigand later discovers that notes taken from the conference have been altered to include no mention of “safer” or “less hazardous” products. Shortly thereafter, Wigand is told that B&W would not pursue the development of safer cigarettes.
Wigand reads a study issued by the National Toxicology Program regarding the carcinogenic dangers of coumarin, a key additive in the B&W pipe product, Sir Walter Raleigh. The study, which stated that the composition of coumarin is similar to that of rat poison, found that the additive caused tumors in mice and rats. Wigand advocates for the company to remove the additive. B&W president Thomas Sandefur refuses on the grounds that its removal would alter the taste of the tobacco and, therefore, have an adverse effect on sales.
Thomas Sandefur becomes CEO of B&W.
Wigand is fired. He signs a confidentiality agreement regarding his B&W employment and severance package.
Wigand learns that B&W is suing him for breach of contract. Under threat of losing medical benefits for his sick daughter, he signs a stricter, broader confidentiality agreement.
Lowell Bergman, 60 Minutes producer, asks Wigand to serve as an analyst of Philip Morris documents that Bergman has received anonymously (this does not violate the confidentiality agreement between Wigand and B&W).
Executives from the seven largest tobacco companies in the United States, including B&W CEO Thomas Sandefur, testify before Congress that they believe nicotine is not addictive. Wigand is incensed but out of fear of violating the confidentiality agreement, does not act.
Wigand receives two telephone threats toward his daughters after he agrees to act as advisor to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its case against the tobacco industry. (His work as advisor also does not violate his confidentiality agreement; Wigand had notified B&W of his contact with the FDA.)
The New York Times runs a series of stories based on internal B&W documents, spirited out of the company’s lawyers’ offices by paralegal Merrell Williams. The articles illustrate long-term cover-ups by B&W executives on the dangers and addictive nature of its products.
Wigand becomes a technical advisor to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as it defends itself against a $10 billion lawsuit brought by Philip Morris (maker of Marlboro cigarettes) over an ABC story that contended Philip Morris secretly manipulated nicotine levels in its products.
Bergman asks Wigand to speak on-camera about his work at B&W.
The once secret B&W internal documents taken by Williams become available on the Internet.
Stories begin circulating that Wigand will testify on behalf of ABC in the Philip Morris lawsuit. Bergman becomes concerned that Wigand will be court-ordered not to speak to the press and pushes harder for an on-camera interview before that happens.
60 Minutes interviews Wigand but agrees to not air it without Wigand’s permission.
Philip Morris settles its
lawsuit with ABC out of court. ABC issues an apology
statement emphasizing that it stood by the central
premise of the piece, which was that cigarette companies manipulated
nicotine to hook smokers. It apologized narrowly for reporting that the
companies used significant quantities of nicotine purchased from outside suppliers.
CBS, Inc. (the network that owns 60 Minutes) enters into merger negotiations with Westinghouse.
CBS lawyers propose dropping the Wigand story due to “tortious interference,” a legal term referring to Wigand’s confidentiality agreement with B&W. Others at CBS reportedly worry about adverse effects the story may have on the impending Westinghouse merger and on Andrew Tisch, who is chairman of Lorillard Tobacco Company (maker of Newport cigarettes) and the son of CBS chairman Laurence Tisch.
CBS kills the Wigand story.
B&W subpoenas Wigand for violating his confidentiality agreement by talking to CBS.
Wigand is deposed in the Mississippi lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Among his charges: Thomas Sandefur lied under oath when he testified before Congress regarding his belief of nicotine’s addictiveness, and B&W was involved in a deep cover-up of research and documents attesting to the dangers of tobacco. Under judge’s order, the deposition is sealed.
B&W launches a Wigand smear campaign by hiring public relations expert John Scanlon.
The sale of CBS to Westinghouse is announced.
The Washington Post gets word that Wigand has an alleged history of spousal abuse.
Scanlon, a personal friend of 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt, begins bombarding Hewitt with accounts of alleged misdeeds by Wigand. Hewitt initially does not know that Scanlon has been hired by B&W.
Wigand finds a bullet in his mailbox.
Hewitt and 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace discover Scanlon’s ties with B&W.
Reporters in Louisville, Kentucky begin receiving tips of alleged Wigand misdeeds. B&W is based in Louisville and Wigand was still living there at the time.
Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs hires private investigators to counteract the Wigand smear campaign.
The Wall Street Journal runs an article on Wigand and includes leaked testimony from the Mississippi deposition. The publication of Wigand testimony allows 60 Minutes to air the Wigand piece.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a 500-page document issued by B&W that highlights countless alleged misdeeds committed by Wigand. The charges range from Wigand lying about his residence to falsely claiming luggage damage. The Wall Street Journal reviews the document and deems most of the charges unsubstantiated. The paper called the report a “chilling insight into how much a company can find out about a former employee and the lengths it may go to discredit a critic.”
Wigand’s wife files for divorce.
60 Minutes finally airs the Wigand interview. The report includes facts on the B&W smear campaign.
The offices of Wigand’s lawyers are burglarized. A pile of burned matches is found at the door.
Vanity Fair runs “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” an exhaustive article chronicling the storm surrounding Wigand. Disney buys the rights to the story and later produces “The Insider” based on the facts presented in it.
Mississippi settles with the tobacco industry for $6 billion.
Florida settles with the tobacco industry for $13 billion.
Texas settles with the tobacco industry for $14 billion.
Minnesota settles with the tobacco industry for $6 billion.
The remaining forty-six states settle each of their lawsuits with the tobacco industry for $206 billion. Among the stipulations was an agreement from the industry to drop all remaining charges against Jeffrey Wigand. The information provided by Wigand in the Mississippi deposition was key to each of the individual state settlements and the larger Multi-State Agreement.
“The Insider,” starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, opens nationwide.
§ Pretrial deposition of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, November 29, 1995, by the State of Mississippi;
§ “Getting Personal: Brown & Williamson Has 500-Page Dossier Attacking Chief Critic,” by Suein L. Hwang and Milo Geyelin, published in The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 1996;
§ transcript of 60 Minutes “Jeffrey Wigand, Ph.D.,” aired February 4, 1996;
§ “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” by Marie Brenner, published in Vanity Fair, May 1996;
§ Dr. Jeffrey Wigand;
§ Tobacco Timeline at http://www.tobacco.org.
Click here to search for internal Brown & Williamson documents regarding Dr. Wigand.