MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - A Montgomery County parody site – the Takoma Torch – is raising eyebrows after an article pairing Olney’s brand new baseball team to a site that sells pornographic content went foul.
In his first on-camera interview since his attorney announced an agreement, "Takoma Torch" creator Eric Saul told FOX 5 he was just having fun with the words "Olney" (a Montgomery County town) and "Only." His pun on the words, however, turned into a First Amendment rights battle.
Some people were apparently upset Saul’s article put pornographic images and collegiate athletes in the same conversation.
The site Saul runs is so small, he told FOX 5 he was surprised to learn people in Olney, Maryland actually read it.
"Takoma Torch" makes fun of news and, last week, wrote a fake article about the new Olney baseball team’s website crashing. He called the fake site OlneyFans.com – a pun on "OnlyFans.com," which is an actual subscription based website where among content, people can sell sexual images.
"Onlyfans.com" recently made headlines in mainstream news announcing it would ban explicit content – around the time Saul says local news was sharing information about the new collegiate baseball team coming to Olney, Maryland. They’re expected to start next year and are so new, the team doesn’t have an official name yet.
Not everyone thought the satire was funny. The "Takoma Torch" was served a "cease and desist" order the next day.
Saul responded by selling "OlneyFans" t-shirts. He also shared a punchy letter offering to sell his bat and baseballs logo (positioned in the shape of male genitalia) for $5,000.
His attorney says both sides have since come to an agreement.
"This was always supposed to be a fun article kind of promoting both us and obviously and this new baseball team coming," said Saul, "So I’m hoping to continue to promote baseball. I think it’s a really important thing for the community. And like I said we’re selling T-shirts to raise money. We’ve raised probably $750 already for the team – or for the Olney boys and girls and um, yeah I just hope it ends in a very positive way and we all can be friends at the end."
FOX 5 was unable to get through to the coach or their attorney.
Saul told FOX 5 the original plan was give the t-shirt money to the Olney Boys and Girls Club.
He’s still not planning to take the article down, which he said as a satire writer, is very important to him.
Looking on the bright-side, Saul said at least more people know about the new Olney team, and may be more inclined to support them because of it.
"There is no ill will on either side. I hope that the team and I can continue to like promote it. I think it’s great. I love baseball. I’m a coach myself, in the area coaching. I know a lot of younger player who might one day be on this team and so I just hope everybody can take it as a really good lesson and experience and turn it into something positive," he added.