- In 1993, a gifted young inventor in Manhattan named
Sean Dix created and then patented a new dental flossing device called
FlossRings. His next patented invention was sterilized dental floss in
five-inch segments that would be inserted into the FlossRings. These
were revolutionary advancements in dental health care, but Sean did not
realize how revolutionary they were at the time. He would not discover
until 1995, that his would be the only sterilized and sterilely packaged
floss in the industry. Like most of us, Sean assumed that all dental
floss was sterile. The unfortunate truth is that it is not.
- The FlossRings were sterling, stainless steel, or plastic
red, blue or clear ring-like devices that fit over the two index fingers,
holding five inches of floss between them. They make flossing easier,
even for people with dexterity problems, and an Indiana University study
ten years ago reported that the FlossRings and sterile segments removed
23.8% more plaque than Johnson&Johnson (J&J) waxed floss alone.
While this paper was being written in 2008, however, it was discovered
that the actual percentage number was not 23.8 percent. It was an astounding
31 percent. An "x" and a "y" in the equation had
been reversed by someone working in the study. This would be but one
of numerous unexplained "oddities" to be encountered by the
man who invented sterilized dental floss.
- At the time of his inventions, Johnson&Johnson had
been enjoying its position as a leader in the flossing industry for almost
100 years. In 1994, J&J began showing interest in the Dix FlossRings
and invited Sean to a meeting with their worldwide acquisitions leader,
Brian Bootel. Also in the meeting were the J&J marketing director,
and the head of research and development. Sean met with them one afternoon
in May of 1994, showed them his goods, and showed them how sterile floss
segments could be sterilized and packaged sterilely like Band-Aids. As
the marketing director began to show visible excitement over what Sean
was showing them, Sean states that Mr. Bootel extended his right foot
under the conference table and kicked her.
- Sean had no idea that on this spring day in 1994 the
only person in that room (and the only person in the U.S.) who knew how
to make and package sterile dental floss was Sean Dix. He was the dreamer
who, despite having no college training, had easily solved the one problem
that the old spooled dental floss industry had been unable or unwilling
to solve for one century. He knew that the way to keep dental floss sterile
for each use was to package it in segments instead of winding it by the
yard around spools.
- No one said a word, however. No one in the J&J conference
room told Sean that he was showing them the only feasible way of putting
sterile floss on the market.
- It was strangely synchronistic that while this meeting
was taking place in 1994, Johnson&Johnson was going through another
"un- sterile" situation that was also being kept quiet. This
was another sterilization matter that J&J felt the public need not
hear about. Most of us, including Sean, would not hear about Johnson&
Johnson's Ethicon Vicryl sutures until 1999. The Vicryl sutures were
being distributed for use in surgical procedures in 1994, despite the
fact that Ethicon's sterilization equipment had stopped functioning in
their plant in Texas.
- Sean Dix did not accept the agreement offered to him
by J&J in June of 1994. He sensed that something was not quite right
and that the personnel were behaving oddly, although he still had no idea
what their secret might have been. He instructed his attorney to issue
a letter terminating his relationship with J&J, which was carried
out via telecopier on June 28, 1994. Ignoring that letter, and with
Sean Dix still on their minds, in August, Mr. Bootel, again contacted
Sean and offered a better agreement. This time Sean signed it, entering
a brief "evaluation confidentiality agreement" with J&J.
During this time, J&J would conduct tests, and Sean was to maintain
silence about his products.
- The J&J personnel continued their own silence regarding
the revolutionary sterile flossing concept, and they conducted an evaluation
using only five sets of FlossRings provided by Sean.
- Oddly, after the evaluation J&J decided they did
not wish to pursue things further, stating they had "other internal
strategic objectives" to pursue. According to Sean, they also refused
to honor Item 10 of their own agreement, in which J&J had promised
to share the results of their study. Sean moved on, leaving J&J
behind and he began focusing on his manufacturing plans.
- It was in the spring of the following year, 1995, that
Sean learned the truth about conventional, spooled dental floss while
he prepared for the manufacturing phase of his own products.
- In a matter-of-fact manner, an industry expert broke
the news to Sean about his planned sterile floss.
- "You realize you are going to be the only one who
has sterilized floss in the industry," the expert said to Sean.
- "My jaw dropped," Sean stated to me as he remembered
that life- changing moment.
- Stunned, Sean states he then asked the man, "You
mean floss isn't sterilized?" To which the man replied: "None."
- Worse, Sean learned that the non-sterilized floss spools
were assembled and packaged by hand. Sean wondered how many others also
assumed in error that the floss they were inserting deep into gum tissue
was sterile. He placed an ad in the Village Voice, asking for volunteers
to take a poll in exchange for some free FlossRings. Question #2 of the
poll asked the following:
- "2.) Did you know that all dental floss currently
on the market is Not Sterilized and is packaged by hand A) Yes___ B)
- Of the 41 people who responded, all 41 checked B, "No."
One hundred percent of those answering this poll and every other poll
he conducted assumed in error that their floss was sterile. No one knew
it was being handled by people providing cheap factory labor in various
countries throughout the world, including China.
- In November of 1995, Sean contacted Robert Morrissey,
the author of a 624-page book written about the importance of sterilization
titled, "Sterilization Technology." Sean had read the book,
and wanted to have a chat with Mr. Morrissey about the importance of
sterilized dental floss. It was not difficult to locate Mr. Morrissey
because Mr. Morrissey also happened to work for Johnson&Johnson.
Sean wished to make certain that the top experts at J&J were aware
that their company was declining a technique that would have given Johnson&Johnson
the honor of bringing sterilized floss into the marketplace.
- Further documenting this phone conversation, Sean then
wrote a letter to Morrissey, stating, "The consumers believe that
floss is sterile and given the choice, 100 out of 100 as polled would
opt for the sterile floss." He mentioned again that he had offered
Johnson&Johnson the opportunity of bringing sterilized floss to the
marketplace, and that he would now do this, himself. "Above and
beyond the confines of boardroom politics," Sean wrote, "we
have the duty to make progress in the area of sterilization."
- Morrissey did not reply. Sean felt the phone call and
correspondence were gestures of good will to make certain that top experts
at a company he highly respected were aware that they were declining a
revolutionary idea. But this gesture also did something else. It put
Johnson&Johnson on notice that Sean had finally realized the enormity
of what he had invented. He finally knew he would bring the only sterile
dental floss to the market.
- Sean never dreamed how seriously his innovations had
rattled the century-old spooled floss industry. He thought fair business
competition was part of the American Dream and there would be fair play
among the competitors. He assumed that competition meant healthier, safer
products for the public. But the future was to hold an unimaginable nightmare
for the solitary man about to bring on a dental revolution.
- In the ensuing months, favorable reviews of Sean's inventions
poured in. Among the first to give positive reviews were Forbes FYI,
the Boston Globe, and Bloomberg News. His products were praised as "revolutionary"
and helping to modernize dental care. In June of 1996, his products would
be placed on permanent exhibit in The National Museum of Dentistry in
Baltimore, a museum that is affiliated with the Smithsonian.
- By 1996, Sean's FlossRings were available in CVS drugstores
nationwide, with other stores also placing orders. Easily affordable
at $1.99, the first in-store orders were selling out.
- Dix planned to sell the soon-to-be-manufactured sterile
floss segments for $1.99 per package, as well. Investors were lined up,
and Mr. Bootel, years later, estimated that the market potential for
Sean's products was approximately $50 to $100 million yearly.
- This represented a hefty percentage of the yearly US
floss market that was being enjoyed by industry spooling giants, including
Johnson&Johnson, but it made sense. Most people would choose sterile
floss over that which is not sterile, the same as they would sensibly
choose sterile Band-Aids over non-sterile wound dressings. And, there
would be only one sterile dental floss available: the floss created by
- Sean sent a video of his Hammacher Schlemmer proposal
for notable inventions to Bloomberg News, CNN and others. While Sean
was receiving nationwide orders, favorable media attention and his first
products were selling well, while investors were lined up, while the prototypes
of the sterile segments had been created and were on the verge of major
manufacturing and just a week prior to being honored by the Smithsonian's
affiliate museum, Sean was contacted by media giant CNN. They also wanted
to do a news feature on his inventions. He was thrilled and felt that
being on CNN news would surely launch his emerging revolution.
- Questions that some might be asking at this point are:
why have we never heard about any of this, and why in 2008 are we still
flossing with non-sterile dental floss that is spooled and hand- packaged
by factory workers? Where are the Sean Dix FlossRings shown to remove
significantly more plaque than Johnson& Johnson's waxed floss alone?
Where are the Sean Dix sterile floss segments, proudly and sterilely
made in the USA? Who took our product choices away from us? Who removed
the new competition from the old- fashioned spooled dental floss market?
- These are questions that the public might wish to direct
toward Ted Turner, CNN, and Johnson&Johnson.
- The CNN crew filmed Sean first at a Drug Guild meeting,
and then the crew of Jeanne Moos filmed him at CVS and his apartment.
They filmed him stating he had invested approximately $60,000 into his
products. He explained again that his products were about to be honored
in the National Museum of Dentistry, talked again about the sterility
issue and why his superior floss would be an exciting new competitor in
the floss market. They already knew all about this, however, long before
they ever contacted Sean as they had seen and heard all of this in their
copy of the Hammacher Schlemmer video.
- As Moos prepared to leave, Sean states she paused to
comment on the enormous aftereffects of being on a CNN news segment.
"You realize that a piece like this can either make you or break
you," she said. Sean found this statement curious. Since his products
had received good reviews, he dismissed the warning.
- The news clip was scheduled to be run on June 12, 1996.
Sean, his investors, his potential investors, his national sales team,
his family and his friends were all waiting to watch the clip, and Sean
phoned CNN to find out when, exactly, it would be aired so they would
not miss it. He was told that it would be aired right after Larry King
Live, and he thanked the reporter. "Don't thank me yet," she
said, "you might not like it."
- As everyone watched, CNN aired the clip, and stunned
silence filled Sean's mother's apartment as it unfolded on national TV.
The clip was an insulting mockery of Sean Dix and his inventions. In
addition, it contained inaccurate scenes invented by Moos and the crews.
Removed entirely from the film footage was any and all mention that Sean
Dix was about to offer people the only sterile dental floss on the market.
In fact, the word, "sterile" was carefully omitted from all
dialogue. The sterile floss segments were instead referred to by Moos
as "pre-tipped floss segments." There was no mention of the
fact that conventional floss is not sterile, which might have truly come
as "news" to the millions of viewers watching. There was no
mention that Sean's sterile product would have forced the old-fashioned
dental spooling giants into an expensive modernization of their equipment
in order to compete with one young man by the name of Sean Patrick Dix.
- No mention was made about his products being placed on
permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian's affiliate museum. Instead, the
"news" clip created by Moos was filled with sarcastic ridicule
in which she equated his inventions to the sort of junk one finds in
a box of Cracker Jack. Her clip began and ended as she poured a cheap,
noisy sound-card playing the "Mission Impossible" theme from
a box of Kellogg's Corn Pops. The clip never mentioned that Sean had
turned down J&J's first agreement. It showed only the later letter
from J&J stating they had changed their minds. Two dentists fumbled
with the rings and gave disparaging ratings. Sean would later be told
that one of the dentists involved was the personal dentist of Moos. Moos
ended this clip stating of Sean, "He's a man with a mission - -"
and then loudly playing the Mission Impossible theme song again. Above
this din she stated, "Try playing that on your FlossRings."
- The "American Dream" of a young inventor dissolved
overnight into a surrealistic nightmare as Ted Turner's CNN news comedians
played their destructive Mission Impossible Corn Pops clip, not once,
not two or three times, but repeatedly. Sean need not have worried about
"missing" this airing, because the Turner outfit aired it continuously
throughout the night and the next day on numerous programs, as well as
continuously on "Headline News" until there was complete national
saturation. It is not known how many days CNN repeatedly played this
destructive clip, because Sean Dix stopped watching CNN on June 13th as
his business collapsed around him.
- The warning that Jeanne Moos had given Sean about CNN's
ability to "make or break" a person, became a reality. When
CNN was finished with its false advertising campaign, Sean Dix was completely
broken. The investors and national sales teams fled in the aftershock
and embarrassment. The empire of Ted Turner destroyed Sean's business,
scattered his investors and successfully eliminated the only competition
to the spooled dental floss market, overnight. But Sean points out that
he was not the only one harmed by this act. The American consumers were
harmed as well. We lost our chance to finally have a superior, sterile
dental floss, and we lost a chance to have an improved way of flossing
that specifically out-flossed Johnson&Johnson's waxed floss, alone.
- Some at CNN defended this clip as merely being "humorous,"
but there is truly nothing humorous about a media giant using its full
broadcasting capabilities to air an incomplete and inaccurate clip for
the purpose of nationally destroying a worthy new competitor who stood
poised to become the new leader in the dental floss industry.
- This hatchet job was especially egregious considering
the fact that Johnson & Johnson has a heavy presence on Turner Broadcasting.
CNN regularly features Johnson & Johnson's products and services
on their website as though they were "news," thus blurring the
distinction between news and product advertising. Press releases have
stated that CNN "collaborates" with J&J. In a press release
for "Safe Kids," Turner Broadcasting is referred to as "Johnson
& Johnson's partner." Turner has also installed former top Johnson&Johnson
personnel into top management within the massive Turner industry, a fact
that is worthy of consideration because most shareholders would ostensibly
want to protect their shareholder investments. In addition, Johnson&Johnson
is among the top ten largest advertisers on earth, another important business
consideration especially when comparing J&J's potential advertising
revenue to that of one single man, Sean Dix. It was the solitary man
who stood to have become a serious competitor with the industry giant,
should he have been allowed to move forward.
- Because of close ties to the floss-giant, J&J, CNN
could have ethically refused to review the products of the new floss
competitor who was threatening J&J's grip on the floss market.
- They could have claimed a "conflict of interests,"
but they chose to eliminate the competition, instead. Ironically, in
the State Science and Technology Institute magazine dated June 14, 1996,
two days after Sean Dix's revolutionary products had been destroyed on
national television by CNN, Johnson & Johnson was listed as having
been named by President Clinton to receive a National Medal of Technology,
the nation's highest technology honor, for "contributions to the
present state of knowledge," and for "technological innovation
and advancement of U.S. global competitiveness."
- Overnight, the one man who dared to compete with the
Goliath of the spooled-floss industry lost everything. In fact, Sean
had been so powerfully wiped out and undone, he could not even afford
to sue the giant "partners" for what they had done to him.
The entire outdated spooled floss industry was then left to carry on "as
is," with no need for an expensive machinery upgrade in order to
compete with Sean Dix.
- Sean quickly discovered that the two dentists shown fumbling
with the FlossRings on the Moos news clip had not been allowed to read
the package instructions prior to using them, nor had they been made
aware that the floss segments were a superior, sterilized product.
- After realizing that CNN had manipulated them, one of
the dentists wrote a letter to Sean stating, "I feel it only fair
to write you with regard to the manner in which I was first exposed to
your product" The dentist, George D. Reskakis, D.D.S., and his
staff stated that the CNN film crew simply handed the FlossRings to the
dentists and asked them to demonstrate and rate them. One dentist was
asked to use 18 inches of floss, instead of the five inches as directed
on the package. Dr. Reskakis wrote: "Since that initial time I
have carefully reviewed all of the information and documentation . . .
Upon further review, and with the addition of the sterile pre-knotted
floss, I now feel this is a viable and potentially valuable product for
my patients." But what the dentist might have desired for his patients
was apparently of no concern to anyone at CNN. Sean began immediately
sending this information to CNN, including copies of the Reskakis letter,
but his letters and his phone calls were completely ignored. There would
be no retraction, no correction, no apology and CNN felt that the matter
- Throughout 1996 and into 1997, Sean dedicated himself
to politely attempting to correct CNN, to no avail. His FlossRings would
eventually be seen on many news sources, including the New York Times,
Prevention Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, Glamour Magazine and numerous
others, but his investors never returned after the massive, national cable
campaign that had been carried out by CNN.
- Peter Lusk, a potential investor wrote, "I have
known Sean Dix since 1995 and am familiar with his 'Floss Rings' product.
- Before the [Jeanne Moos] CNN article, I was willing to
invest approximately $100,000 personally, and attempt to raise an additional
$1,000,000 for the 'Floss Rings' product. Due to the embarrassingly negative
and trivializing tone of the CNN article, I found it very difficult to
approach my contacts and my family's contacts for potential investment.
These contacts include, but are not limited to, Peter Lusk Sr., Tony Forstmann,
Theodore Forstmann, Joel Leff, William F. Harnish, Lionel Pincus, Whale
Securities and other accredited investors."
- In April of 1997, as the legal, corporate, and human
rights of Sean Dix continued to be trampled, Johnson&Johnson took
out a full page dental floss ad in Prevention Magazine to appear opposite
the magazine's dental news feature called "Your Healthy Smile."
- The ad announced J&J's new line of improved floss.
Incredibly, appearing in the J&J ad were two clear ring-like devices
magnifying the J&J floss. On the opposite page were unauthorized
photos of a smiling model happily using a pair of Sean's blue FlossRings
to floss her teeth, but nowhere in the Prevention article were the FlossRings
identified as Dix FlossRings. There was no mention anywhere of Sean Dix.
This violation of his property rights has never been adequately explained,
but when Prevention Magazine learned of the problem, it featured the Dix
FlossRings in a later issue.
- Meanwhile, Sean continued to send faxes, Fed-Ex packages,
and make phone calls to CNN, pleading for them to listen to him but for
reasons he did not understand, they all ignored him. In 1998, he was
finally told to send another package and Ted Turner would examine it personally.
He did this, only to have CNN tell him they lost it. He then went to
the expense of Fed-Exing another package to Ted Turner containing the
letter from the dentist, and was told on the phone by Blaine Sergew that
they could not locate this package, either. She then she asked him to
hold as she transferred his call. He assumed she was looking for someone
to help locate the Fed Ex package.
- It was at this point, in July of 1998, that Sean states
he was transferred for the first time to Thomas McCormick of CNN security.
McCormick said to Sean, "You don't get it do you? We don't care."
The reality of the matter then suddenly became clear. CNN had been ignoring
and misleading Sean Dix because they had no intention of "correcting"
their devastating clip of his products. The clip had apparently accomplished
exactly what it was intended to accomplish: the destruction of a competitor.
Sean then realized the only way to be heard was to somehow bring this
into court. Having no money now, he decided the only answer was to be
arrested by CNN. Sean then sent 6,000 faxes to CNN consisting primarily
of the dentist's letter about the unethical clip.
- Several weeks later, in another phone call, Sean explained
to McCormick he wanted CNN to arrest him so he could take the matter
to court. Sean was then threatened by McCormick. McCormick threatened
that Sean would wind up "lost" in the Atlanta prison system.
"People get lost in there sometimes and sometimes they just never
come to trial," he stated. McCormick told Sean that he, McCormick,
was not a part of the jail system, but "sometimes I feed it."
McCormick would later testify in court that the CNN staff had been instructed
not to engage in conversation with Sean, and to ignore him.
- Sean pressed on, announcing on his website that he was
going to hold a protest against CNN and J&J at the CNN building in
New York on October 6, 1999. Three days before the protest, a man identifying
himself as "Peter Kislewski" paid a visit to Sean's uncle's
bakery, and had a meeting with Sean and the uncle, in which he offered
"worldly advice" for Sean to cancel the protest and leave Johnson&Johnson
alone. Sean, however, was determined to bring the matter to court, and
he held his protest.
- At the protest, Sean states he was physically assaulted,
head- butted in the chest by a maintenance man, pushed backwards down a
staircase, and then thrown through the revolving doors. ("But I
wasn't hurt," he said.) He was arrested out in front of the building
on CNN charges that he "broke the doors" he had been thrown
through. Most of Sean's interactions with CNN and J&J have been recorded,
and most of the above interaction was recorded on video. The doors are
clearly shown to be working, and not "broken." People in the
video are shown passing through the revolving doors while Sean was being
arrested. The charges were later dismissed and the case sealed after
CNN failed to show up for the court hearing three times.
- A telephone conversation then took place with Peter Kislewski,
and this time Kislewski warned that Sean should not try to seek justice
from J&J, stating that Johnson&Johnson could easily have him
"whacked" and make it look like a suicide. Kislewski told him
that CNN's threat of making him "lost" in the prison system
was quite real, and that it amounted to a death threat as well.
- Kislewski warned Sean Dix to leave the Johnson&Johnson
matter behind him and move on.
- "They are a huge company and they can do anything
and keep it quiet," Kislewski said about Johnson&Johnson. "Look
at the Ethicon sutures. Look at how many people died and they kept that
- Sean had not heard anything about "Ethicon sutures"
before this moment. That evening, searching online, he found the San
Francisco Examiner articles (dated 1999), revealing that in May of 1994
while Sean was sitting in the Johnson&Johnson offices offering them
his sterile floss, J&J's Ethicon company was distributing surgical
Vicryl sutures after their sterilization machinery stopped functioning.
The massive, mysterious infections resulted in additional surgeries for
some, loss of life for others, amputations, pain, and disfigurement.
Law suits were claiming contaminated sutures. Doctors and surgeons were
not notified and were mystified about the strange infections. Some remain
unaware, today. The Examiner stated the hushed recall resulted in only
a fraction of the sutures being removed from hospitals and doctors offices.
According to The Examiner, Johnson&Johnson's Ethicon "sought
to keep secret information about both the sterilization failure at the
Texas factory and the infection outbreak that had been linked to the sutures
in lawsuits and FDA records."
- In a statement given to me, Sean said he was so stunned
to learn about this cover-up that it marked another important life-changing
- "I grew up using Johnson&Johnson products,"
Sean stated, "and I thought they were a company to be completely
trusted or I would have never offered my products to them. I had offered
my sterile floss idea to them, now I was seeing evidence suggesting that
I was nothing more than another one of their victims. I was naïve
and I never saw the car coming. On behalf of all of their victims, I
was not going to keep silent about this. I was not going to just let
it 'go away' as they were hoping."
- Kislewski would take things one step beyond his current
- He revisited Sean's uncle's bakery and issued a strongly
worded warning to the uncle, while grasping him by the wrist. The warning
so unnerved the uncle, he never told Sean about it until almost a year
after Sean's eventual trial.
- Sean resumed sending faxes to CNN in February of 2000,
and CNN continued to ignore them. On April 6, 2000, Sean sent a letter
to David Jordan, Assistant Chief, Health Care Task Force, U.S. Department
of Justice, Antitrust Division, stating that CNN and J&J had conspired
to restrain trade. Mr. Jordan responded that same afternoon, writing,
"The purpose of the antitrust laws is to foster and maintain competition
in the nation's economy for the benefit of consumers." Mr. Jordan
wrote that while Sean had reported something that was a theoretical possibility,
"you provide nothing to explain CNN's motivation for entering into
such a conspiracy" Sean wrote again on April 8th, only to be told
again there was not sufficient evidence to open an investigation.
- On April 10th, NYPD Detective Jeremiah Everett visited
Sean to tell him that CNN might take legal action against him if he continued
to send correspondence to them. Sean invited the detective up into his
apartment, showed him the CNN tape and explained what CNN had done to
him, and said that he, Sean, wanted CNN to arrest him so he could have
his day in court. Sean explained he had been trying to be arrested since
1998 when he realized this was an antitrust case that the government had
so far refused to act upon, and that Sean finally thought, "What
do I have to do, threaten to kill someone?" On this day, April 10th,
he announced to Det. Everett that he was threatening to "kill Ted
Turner" if only Ted were there in his apartment. The detective
apparently knew this was not a true threat, because he did not arrest
- On April 12th, 2000, Sean wrote another desperate letter
to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, this time to Joel
Klein. This letter received no response from the government, at all.
- On April 18, 2000, having exhausted all other ways of
- to have him arrested, and frustrated with the government's
failure to act, Sean decided to try the tactics already used by CNN and
Johnson&Johnson. He wrote a fax stating he would "attempt"
to kill Ted Turner, and signed it, hoping this would get him finally
into court. He wrote "If you press charges I will have my day in
court . . . Let us let a federal court observe the conditions that have
led us to this impass." Fearing they would ignore this fax as well,
he sent copies to numerous local television stations, the Associated Press,
WGBH, and he sent thirteen copies to eleven different fax numbers at CNN.
- Of the 22 copies of this fax sent out, only WGBH bothered
to contact CNN to ask if they had received a copy of the alleged "threat."
Eric Brass of WGBH's legal department phoned CNN's legal department and
asked if they wanted a copy. Mr. Brass was asked to send it to fax number
404-827-1995, and he did so at 4:42 P.M. CNN could only produce four
copies of the "threat" in court, and only one of those produced
was actually sent by Dix, the others were duplicates. CNN could only
produce one because presumably everyone else was following longstanding
instructions to "ignore" Sean Dix and his meaningless faxes.
It was acted on quickly, however, by someone in the office of David Kohler,
the head of the CNN legal department. Someone using his fax machine
faxed a copy to Midtown South Detective Squad in New York at 2:50 P.M.,
- Sean remained free, however, until finally arrested on
- Following his arrest, he spent the first 30 days being
shuffled from various holding cells, including a prison barge, without
any indictment against him at all. Then, he spent nine months "lost"
in the Atlanta prison system while he awaited his trial.
- Sean's alleged threat was referred to as "Grand
Larceny," and his indictment from the Grand Jury identified him as
"Jason P. Lance."
- On October 20, 2000, Pilar Keagy Johnson, a CNN Senior
Legal Counsel, and Sarah Smith Flynn, CNN Executive Assistant, gave statements
to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), claiming that they remembered
well the last fax Sarah Flynn received from Sean Dix. The FBI-302 report
which was a part of discovery states that when Flynn returned from lunch
on April 18, 2000 at approximately 2:00 P.M., she noticed a one-page fax
on her fax machine in her office, a fax machine specifically identified
by its fax number as 404-827-1995. This, the report states, was the fax
sent by Sean Dix. The FBI report states that as Flynn read the fax,
she felt "very frightened" and felt "cold and ashen."
- She brought this fax to Ms. Pilar Johnson. According
to the FBI report, "Johnson and Flynn took the threatening fax from
Sean Dix very seriously and acted quickly to notify security."
- Later in court, under oath, Flynn again stated that she
had received this fax in her fax machine at approximately 2:00 P.M. and
that she then started a security scramble, stating she was emotionally
"very distracted" and "bothered tremendously" for
the remainder of the day.
- The only problem with the statements recorded by the
FBI, is that Sean Dix never faxed anything to Sarah Flynn at 404-827-1995
on April 18, 2000.
- According to his itemized telephone bill, available to
prosecution and defense during the trial, there were no faxes made to
404-827-1995 on April 18, 2000. The itemized bill reveals that Dix did
send 13 faxes to CNN, (including to David Kohler's fax, 404-827-0843),
but according to the documentation, no faxes were sent from Sean Dix to
Sarah Flynn at 404-827-1995 on April 18, 2000.
- Sean would eventually be incarcerated in federal prison
for approximately two years for his mocked threat to Ted Turner, which
a judge acknowledged on the record was done only in an to attempt to
tell in a court what CNN had done to him. The hoped-for court hearing
never happened. No one from CNN or Johnson & Johnson has ever been
brought to justice for anything they threatened to do to Sean Dix, or
anything they actually physically and monetarily carried out against Sean
- At this time, Jeanne Moos is still at it, and continues
to draw the ire of watchdog group, Media Matters. Karl Frisch, the organization's
communications director, stated, "Funny or not, when Jeanne Moos
does these types of fluff pieces, she is advancing these attacks, doing
real damage. This is CNN, not Comedy Central."
- In a 1999 article carried by CNN, Jean Kilbourne wrote,
"Today, Time Warner, Sony, Viacom, Disney, Bertelsmann, and News
Corporation together control most publishing, music, television, film,
and theme-park entertainment throughout the developed world. It is estimated
that by the end of the millennium these companies will own 90 percent
of the world's information, from newspapers to computer software to film
to television to popular music. We may be able to change the channel,
but we won't be able to change the message." In 1996, Time Warner
acquired Turner Broadcasting.
- Several phone calls to Johnson&Johnson's "Reach"
Division Consumer Product Helpline were made during the writing of this
paper to check on their sterile floss status. The "specialists"
were asked if J&J floss was sterilized. Their answers varied and
were confusing. We were told first, "There is no sterile floss today;"
and then by another, "All Floss is 100% sterile," followed by
"Some of our floss may be sterile," but this person did not
know which ones. A medical specialist later phoned Sean and shouted that
questions about sterilized floss were "trivial!" Finally a
supervisor stated that none of their flosses are sterilized. Similar
phone calls to other floss suppliers resulted in the same confusion.
Many, including personnel working for dental floss suppliers still assume
that dental floss must be a sterile product.
- No one answering the Helplines knew that the man making
the phone calls remains today the only person in the United States with
a simple patented method of providing us with a superior, sterile flossing
technique: the man who was ruined by CNN.
- "I think people are going to want to help you,
Sean," I said to him as we brought to a close one month of intense
study of the court transcripts, the records, and his personal description
of some of what has been done to him (he refuses to discuss parts of his
ordeal). "What do you want me to ask for on your behalf? Do you
want me to ask for donations to help with legal expenses?"
- "No, I don't want any donations," he said.
- "What do you want," I asked again.
- "Justice," he said. "I want justice.
I want the government to do its job and see that justice is finally served.
- I'm not asking only for myself because this whole case
is not only about me. It's about the American people and the American
- We've all been harmed by what's happened in this situation.
We have to ask for justice so that this does not happen again to the
next Sean Dix who tries to make people's lives a little better only to
be cut down by industry giants."
- It seems that justice and sterile dental floss are both
long overdue. If you agree, please send one email with a link to this
article to the Department of Justice. Ask them where the justice is for
Sean Dix and the American Dream.
- firstname.lastname@example.org I also invite everyone so inclined
to freely link to this article, and to list it on your blogs and websites
and to email links to as many people as possible. This situation was
not just about a solitary man named Sean Patrick Dix. It was and is about
all of us.
- * * * * * * * * *
- Mary Sparrowdancer is an independent journalist and the
author of a bestselling book about the Messiah, called "The Love
- www.sparrowdancer.com Stay tuned for Part II of Sean's
saga, detailing perjury, and Sean's subsequent two years in federal prison.
Sean was released from prison in November of 2004. He remains a "convicted
felon" based in part on perjury. Sean can be reached here: email@example.com
and by phone at his place of business: 212-254-7563.
- * * * * * * * * *
References used throughout
this paper include copies of documents provided by Sean Dix, personal
correspondence, one telephone conversation, videos, DVDs, CDs, as well
as references linked below.
Sean Dix's FlossRings.
1999 - Johnson&Johnson
CNN and J&J 'partners'
'Best Liked Companies in
the United States'
2003 J&J Market Share of
CNN 'Health' briefs 'news'
of J&J new product.
J&J 'We're very
pleased to be collaborating with TNT on the Johnson & Johnson Spotlight
1996 - J&J Celebrates
its 100th year floss anniversary.
FDA: Ethicon suture recall
Ethicon Sutures Tragedy
Partners with TNT
Teddy Turner takes Johnson&Johnson
CEO for boat rides
Johnson&Johnson wins Medal
Sean after a 'rough' day
1996 - CNN Charter Sponsor
Media Matters Boos Moos
Lanham Act, False Advertising.
Jean Kilbourne1999 article.
How advertisers influence the