Apple charged in defamation suit against BET

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
iTunes operator Apple Inc. is charged as an accomplice in a new defamation lawsuit filed against Viacom and sibling television network BET for mislabeling two Texas residents as "murderers" on the hit television series "American Gangster."



The 13-page suit, filed Wednesday in the United States District Court Southern District of Texas, alleges that a photo of convicted Chicago gang leader Larry Hoover, which also contained Houston residents James Prince and Thomas Randle, has aired repeatedly in conjunction with the BET series alongside an audio caption that dubs the three as killers.



"During the advertisement program, a photograph of Mr. Prince and Mr. Randle is shown with Mr. Larry Hoover, without their permission, with the narrator stating they were "MURDERERS," the claim states. "Neither Mr. Prince nor Mr. Randle has ever been convicted of any felony offenses, let alone murder."



In the episode of "American Gangster" entitled "Larry Hoover and the Gangster Disciples" which aired on October 10, 2007, the photo was shown at least three more times, the suit alleges. Since then, that episode has made its way to the iTunes Store for digital sale, which is where Apple factors into the mix.



"Such patently false, inflammatory and defamatory publications have materially and substantially harmed the reputation of my clients personally and in the business area in which they operate," wrote Warren M Fitzgerald, Jr, attorney for the two Houston men.



Prince and Randle attest that they contacted BET and parent company Viacom ahead of the episode's commercial broadcast to inform them that segment contained false and defamatory information and to request that their likeliness be removed from the show. The networks reportedly refused.



The two men are now seeking punitive damages in the amount to be determined at trial, a preliminary injunction barring the rebroadcast or sale of the episode during the pendency of the lawsuit, and a permanent injunction and restraining order barring any future rebroadcast or sale by Viacom, BET and Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    W H A T E V E R! This will be thrown out.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    Thats pretty bad that the network is blowing them off. Hopefully Apple will pull it as well.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    Clearly Viacom is responsible for this, not Apple.



    What is our world coming to when the courts are full of lawsuits brought by criminals. Notice that the articles mentions that the two have never been convicted of any felonies, let alone murder. It didn't mention misdemeanors, arrests for felonies, associations with felons. I'm sure that the two mentioned are model citizens.



    What happen to this country's backbone. We are sitting here passively while the criminals take over our country. Remember what made this country great? Let's get back to that!!!
  • Reply 4 of 62
    Talk about scumbag lawsuits. Chop them all up and feed 'em to the fishes, I say!
  • Reply 5 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajhill View Post


    ...What happen to this country's backbone. We are sitting here passively while the criminals take over our country. Remember what made this country great? Let's get back to that!!!



    yep: first they throw a bubble gum wrapper in your yard, and the next thing you know, they're coming for your women. If they're not murders now, they''re gonna be, so let's treat 'em like that. Hell, kill 'em now, before they can kill the first time. Yeah! That's the ticket. We should get back to what made this country great...and that DID include condoning libeling people, didn't it, and condemning those who have been accused of a crime, but acquitted or not convicted? Oh, how I long for the good old days when Jefferson and Madison and their righteous gang stood up for those causes, and made this country great.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    What a crock of shit. Another duo wishing their 15 minutes lasted a little longer!!
  • Reply 7 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "Such patently false, inflammatory and defamatory publications have maternally and substantially harmed the reputation of my clients personally and in the business area in which they operate,"



    Maternally harmed, eh? This is what happens when "yo momma" jokes get out of hand.
  • Reply 8 of 62
    Suing iTunes? Well that means they need to add on all the cable and satellite companies that carry BET.



    -Owl
  • Reply 9 of 62
    If the photo was taken in public then their permission was not needed for it to be taken.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    guarthoguartho Posts: 1,208member
    Yes, that's true, but the caption is the crux.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Yes, it's the caption. If it had mentioned Hoover as "a" murderer, that would be different. But, people who are not convicted of that shouldn't be labeled that way by a media organization. It doesn't even matter if they were accused. It would then be "alleged".



    The same pertains to O J. We pretty much all THINK he is a murderer, but a Tv show can't have the official designation of him as a murderer, even if individuals on a particular show say that they think he is.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    guarthoguartho Posts: 1,208member
    Yes, only South Park has dared come close, and they left themselves a sliver of deniability.
  • Reply 13 of 62
    gustavgustav Posts: 825member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajhill View Post


    What is our world coming to when the courts are full of lawsuits brought by criminals. Notice that the articles mentions that the two have never been convicted of any felonies, let alone murder. It didn't mention misdemeanors, arrests for felonies, associations with felons. I'm sure that the two mentioned are model citizens.



    What happen to this country's backbone. We are sitting here passively while the criminals take over our country. Remember what made this country great? Let's get back to that!!!



    I didn't realize, in the US, people were guilty until proven innocent. Silly me, I thought it was the other way around.
  • Reply 14 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mayosolo View Post


    Maternally harmed, eh? This is what happens when "yo momma" jokes get out of hand.



    excellent, excellent, excellent. oh, and did i say, excellent? thanks for the grins.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post


    I didn't realize, in the US, people were guilty until proven innocent. Silly me, I thought it was the other way around.



    I really don't think a conviction necessarily proves anything either way. There can be false convictions just as well as someone being falsely let go too.



    The public isn't necessarily held to the same standards that the justice system is held.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    I suppose if this isn't settled by the time the season of American Gangster is put on DVD, they'll also go after Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, etc.
  • Reply 17 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajhill View Post


    What is our world coming to when the courts are full of lawsuits brought by criminals.



    Where does it say that either of those is a criminal? Or are you just assuming that?



    These guys definitely have a case, you really think it's OK to show someone's picture on TV with the word MURDERER under it (when they're not)? But their case is with BET, not apple.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    If the photo was taken in public then their permission was not needed for it to be taken.



    Probably true...but the main point of the suit is putting "murderers" under their picture.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    All TV and speaker manufacturers need to be included in this lawsuit.



    After all, the defamation could not have occured if it wasn't for its ability to be displayed on a TV and heard through its speaker.



    Physicists could also be implicated since they're responsible for discovering and defining the dark matter and dark energy that the images and sounds travel through to get to the rods and cones, and tympanic membranes.



    Long live the US and A.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Yes, it's the caption. If it had mentioned Hoover as "a" murderer, that would be different. But, people who are not convicted of that shouldn't be labeled that way by a media organization. It doesn't even matter if they were accused. It would then be "alleged".



    The same pertains to O J. We pretty much all THINK he is a murderer, but a Tv show can't have the official designation of him as a murderer, even if individuals on a particular show say that they think he is.



    I could be mistaken, but OJ was convicted in civil court, so maybe he at least may be portrayed as a murderer. shrug
  • Reply 20 of 62
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    If I were falsely (no matter what my other deeds) labeled a murderer repeatedly in the media (EVEN after trying to get the error simply corrected), and people I met and tried to do business with believed it (which they surely would), I'd be totally justified in a lawsuit.



    Apple's involvement is just legal absurdity, but the overall suit has merit. It's a matter of fact in dispute--are they convicted murderers or not? We have a legal system in place to deal with that, so let the process take its course, I say.
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