Family Business Says Fox TV Defamed It

     GREENSBORO, N.C. (CN) – The husband and wife owners of a restaurant say Fox TV defamed them by broadcasting that their business is owned by suspected drug dealers who allegedly discussed a plan to kill the editor of a weekly newspaper.

     The owners of the restaurant, which is called Alexander Devereaux, also sued Fox broadcaster Caron Myers, WGHP Channel 8 Fox News director Eric Olsen, and station general manager Karen Adams. The restaurateurs, plaintiffs Alvis and Iris Fewell, say the defamatory broadcast was made on July 17, 2007.
     On the evening news show, which was broadcast to more than 500,000 people, the Fewells say, “Defendant Caron Myers broadcast and published the following statements: ‘The two men (Striblin and Bracken) own and operate restaurants and clubs in Greensboro, including the Atlantic Café, Alexander Devereaux and Tuscana.’ (Parentheses in complaint.) … In the said broadcast, Gary Lamont Striblin and Terry Lee Bracken are portrayed as drug dealers. Also, in the newscast it was reported that there was some discussion of a plan to kill John Hammer, editor of the Rhinoceros Times.
     “It is totally false that Striblin and Terry Lee Bracken are the owners and operators of Alexander Devereaux. Striblin and Bracken own no interest in Alexander Devereaux whatsoever. The article has created a significant conversation in the community in that some listeners of this newscast now believe Striblin and Bracken, who are allegedly drug dealers, and the co-owners and operators of Alexander Devereaux. These false statements as broadcast over the said television station have caused the restaurant, the plaintiff corporation and the plaintiffs Fewell economic loss. Organizations and individuals have ceased to patronize the restaurant because of the defamatory information contained in the article and some have canceled certain events scheduled at the restaurant.”
     The Fewells demand punitive damages for defamation. They are represented in Guilford County Court by T.O. Stokes III of Greensboro.

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