Thu Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:29AM PST
By Eriq Gardner
A few years ago, HBO's "The Wire" was one of the hottest shows on TV and the media was temporarily fascinated with urban youth life. After kids started sporting T-shirts that read, "Stop Snitching," some reporters rushed to interview drug enforcement officials
on this phenomenon.
But how about filing a defamation lawsuit for snitching a snitch?
In a complaint that can easily be labeled a sign of our times, a New York individual named Iban Hernandez is suing producers and distributors of reality show called "DEA" after allegedly portraying him in a March episode as a "drug dealer" turned "confidential informant."
Hernandez says Viacom, Spike TV, MTV Networks and um, nice guy Al Roker, "seriously damaged" his reputation and violated his publicity and privacy rights by inadequately blurring his image and surroundings in the episode. Hernandez reports getting physical threats of harm from others in his community as a result of the portrayal. Here's the complaint
The Spike show is produced by Al Roker Entertainment and offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the Drug Enforcement Agency, including life on the streets of the illegal narcotics trade. The series has been embraced by the DEA, which has even issued press releases
touting "more action, more dope and more money than viewers have ever seen before" and "a front row seat to DEA's hard-charging, relentless special agents risking lives for the mission."
We've reached out to Spike, Al Roker Entertainment and the DEA and will update if they comment.