Friday, November 8, 2013

Woman Files Libel Claim Against CJR, J-Prof. for Update of 46-Year-Old 'False' Newsweek Article

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A woman has filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging defamation and invasion of privacy claims against Columbia Journalism Review, a retired Newsweek editor and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism professor and a film documentarian based on a Nov./Dec. 2012, CJR article that updated a 46-year-old Newsweek article that she also claimed was defamatory.

In Margaret Won v. Columbia Journalism Review et al. (Case No. 1:13-cv-07723), the plaintiff claims in her complaint that Bruce Porter, 74, published a follow-up article entitled Lost and Found last year in CJR that portrayed her as a former drug user who slept on park benches and underwent an illegal abortion back in 1967. That year, Porter authored an article in Newsweek, Gentle Marcy: A Shattering Tale, that Won alleges defamed her by inaccurately portraying her as an underage runaway who abused drugs and engaged in casual sex that led to the abortion. In her complaint, Won contends she was 19, not a 17-year-old minor, when the original article was written, and she accused Porter of betraying a promise of confidentiality by revealing her first name and hometown in the Newsweek piece.

As reported by the Lexis/Nexis co.-owned Web site and Courthouse News Service, Won alleges the CJR follow-up piece includes the full names of her deceased parents and first names of her siblings, along with a photograph of her and Porter outside her Michigan home to which she didn't consent.

Won's complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages against CJR, Porter and filmmaker Daniel Loewenthal. The defendants did not comment in either the Law360 or CNS accounts of the case.
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