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Rap-A-Lot Founder James Prince Sues BET, Apple & Viacom over American Gangster Episode

Rap-A-Lot Records founder and CEO James Prince and his associate Thomas Randle have filed a lawsuit against BET, it’s parent company Viacom and Apple Computers over thier portrayal in a recent episode of the popular documentary series American Gangster. According to Apple news website MacNN, the pair are not happy with what the suit describes as “defamatory statements” made during the advertising and promotion of one particular episode that chronicled the life of notorious Chicago gang leader Larry Hoover. The suit states that a photograph displayed during the advertising campaign for the show, that showed Prince and Randle standing with Hoover, incorrectly implied that they were killers (the narrator on the commercial says the word “murderers” when the photo is displayed), and could hurt their professional reputations. The suit also claims that Apple and Viacom have refused to pull the episode and discontinue selling it as a digital download on iTunes, or modify it to protect the identities of the two men. Prince and Randle are seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the companies from publishing, broadcasting or selling the episode; as well as punitive damages for airing it in the first place.

In related news, Prince was indicted on felony assault charges in Houston last month for allegedly ordering the beating of a business associate at a sports complex that the label head owns. Ronald Bookman claims that the mogul ordered five men, including his bodyguard to assault him following a dispute over Bun B’s appearance on another artist’s single. The Houston Chronicle notes that Prince originally faced a misdemeanor charge in connection with the alleged attack, but it was upgraded to a felony after Bookman’s injuries proved more serious than was originally believed. Kent Schaffer, Prince’s attorney, has denied his client was connected to the beating in anyway, saying that Bookman simply got into a fight.

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