Disabled veteran's suit against Michael Moore dismissed
Michael Moore has been cleared in a defamation suit launched by an Iraq War veteran he quoted in his film Fahrenheit 9/11.
A federal appeals court in Boston ruled Moore did not defame the disabled veteran, Sgt. Peter Damon, when he used a clip of an interview Damon had done with a TV news program.
Damon had said he was defamed because the clip seems to show him being critical about how he's been treated, when he supports the war.
The veteran, who lost his arms when a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and another reservist were servicing it, was interviewed about a new painkiller he was taking and complains about excruciating pain.
The way the clip was used caused him to be criticized by fellow veterans and subject to humiliation, Damon said.
In dismissing the lawsuit, a three-judge panel said the clip could not reasonably be construed as defamatory.
"Damon's role comprises 16 seconds of a roughly two-and-a-half-hour documentary," the judges wrote in a ruling released Monday.
"He appears in a segment with two other veterans, none of whom convey any anti-war sentiment. While a reasonable viewer could conclude that the documentary itself espouses an anti-war and anti-Commander-in-Chief message, no viewer could reasonably conclude that Damon shares any political or ideological kinship with Moore."
Moore called the ruling a vindication and said Damon's words in the clip speak for themselves, despite the anti-war rhetoric of the film.
"I did not defame this soldier and would not," Moore said. "My heart goes out to him. My prayers are with him and with all soldiers who have suffered from this war. That was the point of the film."
He argues years of failed lawsuits against his films show his movies are accurate.
"I make movies that point out larger truths … about what's happening in this country and the world in which we live, and I have to then suffer through an onslaught of attack," Moore said.
"At some point, I'm wondering, when do I get to catch a break?"
With files from the Associated Press