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Acting Academy Says News Station Defamed It

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CN) - A reporter and camera crew for WLNE-TV Channel 6 allegedly barged into an acting academy's hotel auditions in Rhode Island and accused the academy of "ripping people off" in their crusade for a sensational story.

Nevada-based Edge 1 Productions, which runs the ACT academy, claims reporter Parker Gavigan and his crew refused to leave the private venue and only did so after ACT called police.

During the intrusion, Gavigan allegedly asked leading questions and made statements that "clearly displayed a preconceived storyline, bias, and agenda to disparage and vilify ACT," according to the lawsuit in Federal Court.

The plaintiff says the line of questioning was witnessed by potential students and their parents, damaging ACT's business reputation.

A segment called "Dream Makers" aired on the 6 p.m. news on March 5, 2009. ACT says the defendants compared its operation to a scam enterprise, the Pacific Modeling & Acting Academy, which "suddenly disappeared" after parents paid thousands of dollars for acting classes for their children.

ACT demands $10 million for the alleged defamation.

It is represented by John Mahoney with Asquith & Mahoney.

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