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Here in the land of the free, you can blaspheme god and man all you want, but you best watch your mouth around perishable vegetables and meats.  Diane Sawyer and ABC News just got hit with a $1.2 billion lawsuit by Beef Products, Inc. in South Dakota- a state which has so-called 'veggie libel laws'. Apparently ABC had slimed a beef product known as 'lean, finely textured beef', AKA Pink Slime.

The 257-page lawsuit names American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., ABC News, Inc., Sawyer and ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley as defendants. It also names Gerald Zirnstein, the USDA microbiologist who named the product
"pink slime," Carl Custer, a former federal food scientist, and Kit Foshee, a former BPI quality assurance manager who was interviewed by ABC.
.....
Although several news organizations used the term "pink slime," Webb said ABC was being sued for attacking the company "night after night." The "defendants engaged in a monthlong vicious, concerted disinformation campaign against BPI," the lawsuit claims, citing 11 TV and 14 online reports from March 7 to April 3.
Those who have been around, will remember that food libel lawsuits are not a new phenomenon. Back in 1996, Oprah Winfrey faced a similar lawsuit in Texas over her show on Mad Cow Disease. This scourge on our first amendment has been with us for the last 20 years already, starting in 1991 when state governments started enacting these laws at the behest of the Agri-biz corporations who were stung by the Alar on apples scare.

Of course, the irony is that on the same day that Beef Products Inc. filed their $1.2 billion lawsuit defending the honor of finely textured ground beef, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi directed the egyptian embassy in Washington DC to take legal action in the US against the producers of 'Innocence of Islam'. Nobody thinks this lawsuit would have a snowflake's chance in hell.  Least of all President Mohammed Morsi, who earned his engineering PhD at USC and taught at Cal State Northridge for a time. He should know full well that our free speech laws protect every type of offensive and hurtful speech. His lawsuit would be laughed out of the courts. If only the Prophet Mohammed was a fresh produce, then an american court would take his complaint seriously.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Prophet Mohammed isn't suffering any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, johnny wurster

    personal or financial loss because of this film.

    If he were, then you absolutely would have a point.  

  •  Your analogy is flawed (0+ / 0-)

    Food libel laws are the law in at least 13 states:

    Food libel laws, also known as food disparagement laws and informally as veggie libel laws, are laws passed in 13 U.S. states that make it easier for food producers to sue their critics for libel. These 13 states include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.[1] Many of the food-disparagement laws establish a lower standard for civil liability and allow for punitive damages and attorney's fees for plaintiffs alone,[2] regardless of the case's outcome.[3]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    But blasphemy law is illegal in the United States:
    The US Supreme Court in Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495 (1952) held that the New York State blasphemy law was an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of speech. The court stated that "It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches or motion pictures."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
  •  I don't care if it has the chance (0+ / 0-)

    of a snowball in hell, I hope that Morsi  does pursue a suit.  He's got the money to back his legal team, maybe the scum that produced that film will lose any that they have.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 01:43:40 AM PDT

  •  I don't really get the sense (0+ / 0-)

    of these lawsuits. All you do is keep the issue in the public eye longer, and ensure that testimony about just how gross and repulsive your product is gets splashed in the news again and again.

    They're going to lose anyway, like the people who sued Oprah, and they're going to look like an enemy of free speech, like the people who sued Oprah.

    Their money would be better spent on some slick advertising after the furor from the initial report dies down. But I guess the lawyers on both sides will be making some good money with this case.

  •  Pink slime ain't 'fresh produce'. (0+ / 0-)

    Fresh produce is broccoli. Nice crisp Romaine lettuce. Spinach maybe, and some acorn squash.

    Pink slime is the ammonia-doused residue of a cow tossed into a giant meat-grinder, after everything visibly edible has been removed.

    Yummy!

  •  I don't think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    a suit over the production of the film is going anywhere, due to US free speech rights.  I do support the effort to try, though, as ordered by President Mursi.  To me, this film amounts to more than just hate speech...it is a sort of political tool, intended to spark violence in the Middle East.  That violence could result in death or injury to US forces in the region and/or any US citizens in the area.  Still, I'm certain the vile film is protected speech, just as so much other hate speech has been found to be protected.

    I won't speak of my own opinion regarding the film and its producers, directors, writers, etc, because I've had enough trouble lately.  I will say, though, that the best chance for making these people pay a legal price for making this piece of filth lies with the actors involved, who claim that they were defrauded.  They shot one movie, only to have it edited and dubbed into a completely different movie that they would never have agreed to do.  Now their own lives may be in danger, because believe it or not many Muslims will never watch or read the Western media and learn of this fraud.  They will, therefore, be targeting the actors and crew that were duped.  May Allah (swt) protect the innocent.

  •  What the plaintiffs usually get is the "Streisand (0+ / 0-)

    effect" or the "butt-head astronomer" treatment.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 08:19:49 AM PDT

  •  At this point the issue is (0+ / 0-)

    that they have lost control of the vernacular. The accepted term for that "product" has become "pink slime", no matter what they think it ought to be in English. It just is.

    It doesn't matter what term they think ought to be used instead. Everybody knows it as "pink slime". I think that's a legitimate defense, too, the fact that it has become a common vocabulary term in the last year.

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