S.C. Official Horrified at Porn in his Name
(CN) - An official in the South Carolina House says Showtime Networks and HBO defamed him when they advertised the broadcast of an independent film he produced and co-starred in - "The Hills Have Thighs" - then showed a soft-core porn flick instead. James "Bubba" Cromer Jr. sued the media companies in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Cromer, "elected Reading Clerk for the South Carolina House of Representatives," and a sometime filmmaker, said he was channel surfing on March 1, when, "to his delight," he saw that his second film, "The Hills have Thighs," was scheduled to debut on Showtime's The Movie Channel in the early morning on March 2.
It would have been the first time one of Cromer's films had been shown on television.
His first, "The Long Way Home: A Bigfoot Story," was shown at South Carolina's inaugural Indie Grits Film Festival in 2007, and was later named Best Narrative Feature at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
"The Hills Have Thighs" was completed the following year. Cromer, who wrote, directed and co-starred in the "Appalachian comedy," says the plot involves the mysterious disappearance of a "local hillbilly icon."
Cromer claims he assumed the putative broadcast was the work of his newly hired talent agent. He says he tried to call the agent, but couldn't reach him. He claims his flick also was advertised for subsequent showing on HBO and pay per view.
"Celebrating what they believed to be an exciting and wonderful event," Cromer says he and his father called family, friends, fellow lawmakers and members of the cast to make sure they watched or recorded the show.
Cromer said he "also invited several thousand other friends and associates to watch via Twitter and Facebook."
Before the film's 1:30 a.m. show time, Cromer said, he received an "unprecedented number of calls, messages and emails from people all over the country who were thrilled to see [his] name, the name of cast members, and a description of [the] film on The Movie Channel/Showtime/CBS corporation Web sites," according to the complaint.
To Cromer's horror, however, "the film which was announced to be his work, 'The Hills Have Thighs,' was in fact soft core pornography" that he had "nothing whatsoever to do with."
Cromer said he had to spend a long, sleepless night, fielding emails, phone calls and text messages about the porn flick and its association with his name.
The next day, Cromer, who is an attorney, says he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Showtime, demanding that it immediately stop advertising pornography as his work. His father followed up with his own letter several days letter.
Despite these protests, Cromer says, Showtime and HBO continue to advertise the soft-core porn as his work.
Cromer claims his name and reputation have been irreparably damaged by Showtime and HBO's negligent nationwide association of his name with pornography that featured "nudity and sexual acts," and that he's been subjected to "great scorn and humiliation."
Cromer seeks compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction.
He is represented by Dale Kinsella and Patricia Millett with Kinsella Weitzman, Iser, Kump & Aldisert of Santa Monica.