Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hollywood Reporter article about my father scamming Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Bette Midler, Muhammad Ali, and other stars with AIDS "cure" wins LA Press Club award

Via the print version of Abramovitch's article

Via Hollywood Reporter Wins Best Publication, Website At National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, The Hollywood Reporter, December 6, 2015:
The Hollywood Reporter was honored with 18 awards, including best website and best entertainment publication, at the (Los Angeles Press Club's) eighth annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards on Sunday held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A.

...Senior writer Seth Abramovitch nabbed the best print (newspapers or magazines) industry/arts feature (over 1,000 words) award for “Dr. Heimlich's Hollywood Maneuvers.”
Via 2015 Winners, 8th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards:
Judge’s comment: “Through outstanding investigative research and writing, Abramovitch meticulously constructs a cautionary tale about how the famous inventor of the Heimlich anti-choking maneuver made a stunning, and wrong, claim that HIV might be cured by injecting patients with malaria, and how sympathetic entertainers donated to Dr. Heimlich’s research that proved to be faulty and unscientific.”

LA Press Club president and NBC News LA anchor/reporter Robert Kovacik and Seth Abramovitch (source)

Via Abramovitch's August 14, 2014 report:
At the height of the (AIDS) crisis, the inventor of the famous anti-choking technique claimed HIV could be cured by injecting patients with malaria. New documents reveal how stars like Jack Nicholson and Ron Howard gave thousands to his cause.
Here are some of the other victims of of my father's scam:

Via the print version of Abramovitch's article

Perhaps ironically, my father deserves considerable credit for the the award-winning article:
A trove of documents recently made public and turned over to THR now reveal the extent to which Heimlich's medical project -- cited for 13 "deficiencies" by the FDA in 2000, including "failure to have procedures to determine that risks to subjects are minimized" -- seduced the likes of Jack Nicholson, Bob Hope and Ron Howard into contributing to a $600,000 experimental medical program. In this bizarre chapter of Hollywood philanthropy, Heimlich's campaign offers a startling cautionary tale on the potential dangers of giving.
...Peter Heimlich, a 60-year-old textile importer from the Atlanta area, who, along with wife Karen Shulman, has spent the past 12 years researching and publicizing the less-celebrated aspects of his father's medical legacy.
The "trove of documents" was part of the "120 linear feet" of records donated by my father to a University of Cincinnati library in 2011.

Karen and I copied the "malaria goes to Hollywood" paperwork at the library and on April 25, 2014, I cold-called The Hollywood Reporter (THR).


I got patched through to editor Jeanie Pyun and after I told her about the story and the paperwork, she said the words every source loves to hear: "Have you shared this with any other reporters?"

That led to a productive and engaging reporter/source relationship with Abramovitch. Combined with his stellar reporting, her story instinct and THR's willingness to publish long-form investigative reports made possible the award, a photo of which Seth e-mailed me from the event.

courtesy of Seth Abramovitch

Switching roles, I asked Seth for a comment for my blog to which he replied:
It's incredibly gratifying to be recognized by the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards for "Dr. Heimlich's Hollywood Maneuvers," a story I am particularly proud of. It's a powerful reminder to question figures of authority, particularly the most charismatic ones who, at our most vulnerable moments, peddle magic-bullet cures for dire and complex problems. Many thanks to Peter Heimlich and Karen Shulman for their hard work and cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter in bringing this troubling but important story to light.
From Karen and me to Seth, Jeanie, and everyone else who participated, congratulations and keep up the great work!