LEWISTON, Maine --A school administrator who says he was ridiculed and harassed based on a bogus news story is suing.
Lewiston School Superintendent Leon Levesque is seeking $75,000 in federal court in Portland to deter what his attorney Bernard J. Kubetz characterized as irresponsible reporting by Fox News Channel.
The parody, on a Web site called Associated Content.com, was of the school district's response to a prank in April at Lewiston Middle School. Levesque suspended a pupil for tossing a ham bone on a table occupied by Somali students, knowing the Muslims would be offended. Muslims consider pork unclean.
The lawsuit contends that Fox reported the parody as fact on its "Fox and Friends" show on April 23. The show's anchors repeated a comment attributed to Levesque, that "These children have got to learn that ham is not a toy," and that there was an effort afoot to create an "anti-ham response plan."
A Fox and Friends anchor even assured viewers they were "not making this up," according to the lawsuit.
"It appears to me that Fox News acted in a grossly irresponsible way and took some information that was really not very plausible, did not do any substantial fact-checking, and put it out as hard news," Kubetz said.
Levesque said he was overwhelmed for days with phone calls and hate mail, including threatening calls to his home.
Fox did a brief on-air retraction, but Levesque called it unsatisfactory. A Fox News spokesman in New York said the company does not comment on pending lawsuits.
This from the Boston Globe.