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Three Will Destroy Racist Recordings Imitating ‘Mister Rogers’

October 20, 1990 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Three men have agreed to destroy recordings of racist and anti-gay telephone messages that imitated the voice and speech of ″Mister Rogers″ from the children’s television program.

The men signed settlement agreements Friday with Fred M. Rogers and his Family Communications Inc., owners of the trademarks and copyrights that protect the show.

Rogers and Family Communications sued the men - Adam Troy Mercer, Edward E. Stephens IV and Michael Brooks - and the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan last week in federal court to stop the playing of the tape-recorded messages.

Mercer, Stephens and Brooks agreed to destroy the tapes and not use any materials that imitate the show. The men said in their agreements that they were not Klan members.

Two weeks ago, a group of religious, civil rights and community leaders denounced recordings that callers heard when they dialed an Independence telephone number. They said the number had been widely circulated among schoolchildren in the metropolitan area.

The number is the same used earlier this year to promote the philosophy of the Missouri Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The recordings imitated the sound effects and theme song of the ″Mister Rogers Neighborhood″ show and Rogers’ voice and speech patterns.