Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Don Imus Fallout

Reportedly, CBS has agreed to pay radio shock jock, Don Imus, $20 million dollars to settle his breach of contract and wrongful termination case against CBS after they bent over to the demands of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson after he made a joke about the tough, competitive appearance of the Rutgers's Women's Basketball Team. In the contract with CBS, Imus was encouraged to be edgy and make outrageous and controversial comments for comedy value, but was then wrongfully terminated for doing his job.

In another development, a member of the Rutger's Women's Basketball Team has filed a lawsuit against Don Imus claiming her reputation was damaged by his controversial on-air joke. However since a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Hustler Magazine, the court expanded the legal protections of free expression to offer wider protections against libel and other claims for material classified as comedy or satire. Further, since the plaintiff was not specifically named in the Imus joke, then it is very difficult to contend damage to her reputation as well. With no real legal grounds for this lawsuit to proceed, it likely faces a very quick dismissal by a judge. And the plaintiff may even be forced to pay the court costs of Imus if the suit is ruled to be highly frivolous enough in nature by a judge in some court districts as well. Any lawsuit should be well reasoned before being filed or could backfire on the plaintiff.

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