Reporter suing companies behind 'American Hustle'

Reporter Suing Companies Behind 'American Hustle'
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."

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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