PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A Fox TV station defamed the electrical workers union by accusing its members of hanging a noose at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says a Federal Court complaint.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers claims WTXF Fox-29 TV” falsely and maliciously linked” the racist incident to the union, “to sensationalize the recent media coverage concerning minority membership in Philadelphia’s labor unions” and “to boost Fox-29’s market share and increase its revenues.”
The IBEW Local 98 says minority membership in trade unions has been a big issue in Philadelphia in recent years, in the media and in city government. “It is within this context that the defendant Fox-29 maliciously broadcast an entirely false and outrageously defamatory story linking plaintiff, the city’s local electrician’s union, to a racially motivated hate crime occurring to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” the complaint states.
“On Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, defendant broadcast a lead news story titled, ‘Only On Fox: Noose Found Hanging at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.’ The broadcast falsely stated that an electrician from ‘IBEW’ hung a noose on a light fixture on the 13th floor of the Aberson Pediatric Research center at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) in order to racially intimidate an African American co-worker.
“The broadcast was completely false. The individual responsible for the hate crime was not then and never was a member of IBEW nor any Local. Such individual is an employee in CHOP’s electrical maintenance department, but has never had any association whatsoever with any electrician’s union.”
The IBEW seeks punitive damages. It is represented in state court by George Bochetto.