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Palestinian files $110M libel suit over 'Bruno'



Tbd-sachabaroncohen121109 From the AP: A Palestinian shopkeeper and father portrayed as a terrorist in the movie Bruno is suing film Sacha Baron Cohen, David Letterman and others for libel and slander. The lawsuit filed last week by Ayman Abu Aita in D.C. federal court seeks $110 million in damages. 

In the movie, Bruno interviews Abu Aita, and a caption labels the Bethlehem shopkeeper as a member of the militant Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. Abu Aita is suing CBS and Letterman's company Worldwide Pants over an interview before the film's release about Baron Cohen's encounter with a "terrorist."

The movie claims Bruno set up the meeting in the West Bank with the help of a CIA agent at a secret location chosen by Abu Aita. A clip was then played on The Late Show with David Letterman. According to the lawsuit, however, the interview with Abu Aita took place at a hotel chosen by Baron Cohen and located in a part of the West Bank that was under Israeli military control.

Film distributor NBC Universal and director Larry Charles are also named in the lawsuit, which says Abu Aita is prominent businessman, a Christian and a "peace-loving person who abhors violence."

Attorney Joseph Peter Drennan said Abu Aita was never offered a release to sign to appear in the film.

"This is an important lawsuit because it is about the dignity of a specific person. It is about his reputation, about his standing in the community," Drennan said. "It addresses a very corrosive and calumnious slur against any young Palestinian who would be a political activist on the West Bank" who would be called a "terrorist" because of his activism.

[Photo: AP]


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:08am]


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