MANHATTAN (CN) – “Caddyshack” producer Rusty Lemorande claims an A&E documentary about the making of the movie was a “heartless fiction” that portrayed him as a “drug snitch” against the cast and crew, “a ‘spy’ on the set who secretly informed on everyone to the person who helped him get the job.” Lemorande sued Pangolin Pictures and A&E Television Networks, which broadcast the documentary “Caddyshack: the Inside Story” on its “Biography” channel. Pangolin produced the show.
Lemorande claims the defendants twisted his words and fabricated a rumor to depict him as a “spy” for Orion executive Mike Medavoy, who is not a party to the complaint. Lemorande adds that he never worked for Medavoy or Orion, and that they defendants knew it.
“In pursuit of a ‘gritty’ and ‘provocative’ show, Pangolin elected to manufacture and then air a damaging and heartless fiction under the guise of ‘unfiltered truth,'” the complaint states.
Lemorande claims that Amelia Hanibelsz, Pangolin’s vice president of production, asked him “various questions” about the rumors of his spying for Medavoy. Hanibelsz is not a party to the complaint, in which Lemorande cites two responses he gave.
According to the transcript of his interview, Lemorande says he responded: “What wasn’t … what wasn’t clear to me at the time is that part of the quid pro quo is that I would be a spy. That I would a … somebody who would provide Mike with ongoing information as to what was going on. That wasn’t clear to me initially, but it became very clear as things evolved.” (Ellipses in original.)
The complaint continues: “However, plaintiff then states, that despite any expectation that he would secretly serve as a spy for the person who referred him to the employer (the Jon Peters Organization), that he in fact did not spy. As is evident from the transcript of the interview, in his answer to the question as to whether he was a spy, plaintiff unequivocally states that: ‘Uh, so … a spy, no. I was never blabbing on anybody, and I found that my report was always … most diplomatic to keep alive what was happening in Florida … [a] ‘what happens in Florida stays in Florida’ kind of attitude.” (Ellipses and bracketed word in original. The movie was shot in Florida.)
Lemorande claims the broadcast “deceptively” aired the first part of his statement.
Through this editing, “defendants effectively fabricated and broadcast a confession from the plaintiff, an admission to something that he categorically denied several times in the interview, even after defendants (through their agent, Hanibelsz) repeatedly attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to solicit this damaging information.
“This, in itself, amounts to two acts of defamation – the first to falsely state to the public that Plaintiff was a spy, and the second, to fabricate that Plaintiff actually confesses to being a spy. Taken together, these actions seriously compounded the injury to Plaintiff’s reputation,” the complaint states. (Parentheses in original.)
After playing the edited clip from his interview, Lemorande says, a voiceover narration claims there were rumors on the set that Lemorande was a “known spy.”
When Lemorande asked Hanibelsz where the rumors originated, she told him twice that the voiceover quote was just a “writer’s flourish,” the complaint states.
Lemorande, who produced “Caddyshack” when he was 23, says that the documentary belittled his accomplishments and damaged his reputation.
He seeks $5 million for defamation and outrage, and an injunction barring further broadcast and a retraction, with unedited footage of his interview.
He is represented by Palant & Shapiro in New York County Court.
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