First, everyone probably knows that The Smurfs' community generally takes the form of a cooperative, sharing and kind environment based on the principle that each Smurf has something positive he or she can contributes to Smurf society, including, apparently, extortion.
This morning, Stuart Ross, the man responsible for bringing The Surfs to America, pleaded guilty to the decided non-communist charge of attempted larceny for trying to extort $11 million from son-in-law David Blitzer, an executive at Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone Group.Ross made his fortune introducing The Smurfs to America in 1983, releasing a dubbed version of the 1976 Belgian film La Flûte à six schtroumpfs, which was itself an adaptation of a story called "Johan and Peewit". Ross' version for non-Flemish audiences was titled The Smurfs and the Magic Flute and was re-packaged in partnership with First Performance Pictures.He made quite a bundle off a troupe of animated blue creatures derided in certain circles as communists (as far as drawings can have political beliefs of their own) because the Smurfs' community is a cooperative, each Smurf contributes to Smurf society as he or she can, and if given housing, clothes, and food without any money changing hands.It all started two years ago, when Ross, who lost his money after he, in the words of his attorney, "made some bad investments" left a voicemail message for Blitzer, saying, "David, this is your worst nightmare. Your father in law Stuart Ross. You have been a discourteous prick to [lawyer and personal friend] Stuart Jackson. I am going to continue to harass you. I am going to call you every day -- four or five times a day -- I am going to keep calling -- I will continue to harass you.''After a sting operation at New York City's Union Club, Ross and Jackson were arrested and faced up to seven years imprisonment.At the time, Ross told reporters, "We believe this is totally unlawful, totally malicious. This was a preconceived operation by Blackstone to show its strength." The allegations were called "utter nonsense" by Pete Rose, a Blackstone spokesman who is not that Pete Rose.And so, today the saga of Gargamel and the Magic Extortion Plot drew to a close, as Ross was given two- to three-years of probation and a chance to avoid prison if he submits to psychiatric and alcohol treatment and has no contact whatsoever with his daughter, Blitzer, their children and the Blackstone Group.And to think, for all this time, I never knew there were only three degrees of separation between Steve Schwarzman and Smurfette.