Sole Target Of HBO Report on Child Labor Sues for Defamation

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Sole Target Of HBO Report on Child Labor Sues for Defamation

Wed Oct 29, 2008 @ 12:59AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

What's worse — allegedly outsourcing the work of the manufacturing of soccer balls to an Indian company that pays children 5 cents per hour or less; or claiming in a lawsuit that a media portrayal is defamatory because it should be targeting other soccer ball manufacturers as well.

Mitre Sports International says in a defamation claim filed in Britain against HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that "Despite explicitly stating that 'Real Sports' had found 'at least 10 international brands' of soccer balls being stitched by children, the report falsely, maliciously, and intentionally mentions and targets one and only one brand, Mitre."

The company says it plays a leading role in the international effort to eliminate child labor in the manufacture of soccer balls, does not permit child labor, and presented HBO with proof that its allegations were wrong. According to the complaint, the show was rebroadcast at least 55 times.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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