Lennon friend attacks TV seance to reach ex-Beatle

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Yoko Ono's longtime friend and spokesman said Tuesday that an upcoming TV seance to contact her late husband, ex-Beatle John Lennon, was tacky, exploitative, and far removed from the icon's way of life.

"John Lennon was an amazing communicator of heart, mind, and spirit. He still speaks to those who choose to listen to his recordings. That was the medium he chose to speak with us. A pay-per-view seance was never his style," said Elliot Mintz, Ono's publicist.

Ono has declined to comment about the upcoming broadcast, to air on the pay-TV service In Demand on April 24.

But Mintz, a close friend of the former Beatle, said he felt a need to say something and issued a statement to Reuters outlining his own feelings about the program and other recent media events aimed at capitalizing on the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death.

"In the end, such a show only benefits the producers. It's another example of the misuse of John's affirmation of life as opposed to the preoccupation of his death," Mintz wrote.

"The proposed show strikes me as being tasteless, tacky, and exploitative," Mintz said.

Last week, the producers of a profitable but failed 2003 attempt to contact the late Princess Diana announced plans to shoot a new pay-per-view seance to contact Lennon, who was murdered over 25 years ago by Mark David Chapman outside Manhattan's Dakota apartment building where he lived.

While critics skewered the Spirit of Diana, the show drew over half a million US viewers willing to pay $14.95 to watch it. In Demand subscribers will be charged $9.95 for the Lennon program.

The producers said they chose Lennon because he, like Diana, is an icon and was also a deeply spiritual person. The Spirit of John Lennon is being produced without the involvement or consent of Lennon's estate.

The program will show psychics traveling to sites of significance to the former Beatle, including the Dakota apartment building and a town in India where he went on a spiritual retreat.

The show will culminate as psychics, colleagues, and confidantes sit at a seance table for 30 minutes surrounded by infrared cameras that can capture any "presence" or spirit that enters the room.

Mintz also took issue with a recent NBC Dateline broadcast on Lennon's death because it focused on Chapman, rather than Lennon, as well as a new feature film about Chapman, to star Lindsay Lohan and Jared Leto as Chapman.

"The producers of the film will be granting an assassin's dream. It will also send out a message to other disturbed people that there is a fast track to international fame," said Mintz, who has acted as a spokesman for Bob Dylan; Diana Ross; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and Don Johnson, among others.

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