Reporter suing companies behind 'American Hustle'

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Reporter Suing Companies Behind 'American Hustle'

The movie "American Hustle" was an award winner, but could it lose in court because of two words in one scene?

"American Hustle" is partially based on true events of the '70s, and Paul Brodeur is an actual journalist who worked in the '70s and wrote about microwaves. He's now suing Atlas Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures and Columbia Pictures over a scene in which his name was used.

Check out the scene below:



Entertainment Weekly has his complaint, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. He's suing for:

-Libel, defamation, slander and false light
-Wants $1 million in damages
-Wants his name taken out the film

"American Hustle" was a huge critical and commercial success, making more than $250 million worldwide on a $40 million budget.

But Brodeur says he never made the statement that microwaves take all the nutrition out of food. He says science doesn't support that statement, and the movie damaged his reputation.

Brodeur's now in his 80s. He wrote for The New Yorker for decades, and he's been upset about the movie for months.

Brodeur reached out to The Huffington Post back in January, and said he'd sent a letter to the movie's producers through his lawyer. He told HuffPost: "I have never ... declared in any way that a microwave oven does any such thing. Indeed, I have publicly stated the opposite."

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Reporter suing companies behind 'American Hustle'
In this photo released by Sony Pictures, from left, Jennifer Lawrence, as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, insists on smelling her nail polish, Elisabeth Rohm as Dolly Polito, Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld and Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito oblige inside Baron's Restaurant in Columbia Pictures' "American Hustle." In the movie, which opened Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, Renner’s character goes corrupt as a means to help his city and state. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This film image released by Sony Pictures shows, from left, Amy Adams, as Sydney Prosser, Bradley Cooper, as Richie Dimaso , Jeremy Renner, as Mayor Carmine Polito, Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, and Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, in a scene from "American Hustle." The film was nominated for a Directors Guild award on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. The winners will be announced on Jan. 25. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This film image released by Sony Pictures shows Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from "American Hustle." Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, for her role in the film. The 86th Academy Awards will be held on March 2. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This photo released by Sony Pictures shows Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in Columbia Pictures' "American Hustle." Lawrence's clothing and accessories are vintage. “They had ideas, they lived large and they took risks,” costume designer Michael Wilkinson said of the ‘70s style that inspired his work in the film. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This photo released by Sony Pictures shows Jennifer Lawrence, left, as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, and Amy Adam as Sydney Prosser in Columbia Pictures' "American Hustle." The actresses' dresses were made for the film and their jewelry and shoes are vintage. “They had ideas, they lived large and they took risks,” costume designer Michael Wilkinson said of the ‘70s style that inspired his work in the film. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This photo released by Sony Pictures shows Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in a scene from Columbia Pictures' "American Hustle." Hair is so prominent in the picture, it’s practically another character. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
In this photo released by Sony Pictures, Christian Bale, left, as Irving Rosenfeld, Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser, center, and Bradley Cooper as Richie Dimaso walk down Lexington Avenue in a scene from Columbia Pictures' film, "American Hustle." Corruption tale “American Hustle,” digital love story “Her” and historic saga “12 Years a Slave” are among the motion picture nominees for the Producers Guild of America announced Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
This film image released by Sony Pictures shows Bradley Cooper in a scene from "American Hustle." Cooper was nominated for a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a motion picture for his role in the film on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. The 71st annual Golden Globes will air on Sunday, Jan. 12. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
In this film image released by Sony Pictures, Bradley Cooper, left, as Richie Dimaso and Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld talk in a gallery at the Frick Museum in a scene from Columbia Pictures' "American Hustle." After meeting the dapper Rosenfeld and his seductive partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), Cooper’s character, Dimaso, ups his fashion game. (AP Photo/Sony - Columbia Pictures, Francois Duhamel)
FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Jennifer Lawrence, left, and Matthew McConaughey appear backstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave” will face off with blockbusters like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” at the MTV Movie Awards. The network announced Thursday, March 6, 2014, the nominees for its 24th annual Movie Awards. The other movie-of-the-year nominees are “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle.” Most of the best male and female nominees reassemble recent Oscar contenders like Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong’o and Leonardo DiCaprio. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Director David O'Russell poses for photographers holding his awards for best original screenplay and best supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence for the movie American Hustle as he arrives at the EE British Academy Film Awards Official After Party at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Sunday Feb. 16, 2014, in London. (photos by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
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He's referring to an interview he did with People Magazine in 1978 in which he discusses his concerns with microwave radiation.

When asked "Is there any danger in eating food cooked by microwaves?" He replies "None that is known."

So, how will this case hold up in court? Legal analyst Dan Abrams said the studios will likely argue the scene was a parody.

"This is a long shot case and to some degree you do want to tell him to lighten up. ... But this is not a frivolous lawsuit ... They name him by name, his real name. They talk about something he actually does cover," Abrams says.

Media, including The Hollywood Reporter, are pointing to how the movie's opening credits read "Some of this actually happened." 'Some' being the key word there. The producers weren't claiming the entire movie was accurate.

Generally, in libel cases, the accuser must prove certain criteria, including that the defendant made a false statement about them and presented it as true.

Mediaite reminds us that, "If you've seen the movie, you're aware that Lawrence's character isn't exactly the most thoughtful, so it's possible the character misread the article."

Studios haven't commented on the lawsuit.

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