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 productThose 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.
"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.
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.