AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)
PAUL BRODEUR v. ATLAS ENTERTAINMENT INC. et al
In another case of failed script clearance, the producers of American Hustle have been sued by science journalist Paul Brodeur. Mr. Brodeur was a staff writer for The New Yorker for decades, and has published books about the impact of microwaves on American life and health.
Unfortunately for the producers of American Hustle, apparently no one in production noticed a line in a comical scene in the script where Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Rosalyn, tells her husband that microwaves take the nutrition out of food. When he calls “bullshit” she points to an article and states, “It’s not bullshit. I read it in an article. Look, by Paul Brodeur.”
Excerpt from “American Hustle”
Here’s the problem. Brodeur claims that he never said that microwaves take the nutrition out of food. He also claims in his lawsuit that attributing this unscientific quote to him in this way tarnishes his reputation. Brodeur is alleging libel, defamation, slander and false light, and he claims to have suffered $1 million in damages. At this time of this writing, the lawsuit is still ongoing.
Whether or not you think Brodeur has a legitimate claim, or whether or not he will prevail with it, valuable lessons can be learned here. First, simple oversights can lead to very expensive lawsuits (even if you ultimately win in court), and more importantly, this all could have been avoided with proper script clearance.