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Judge Tosses J.Prince’s Lawsuit Against BET, Apple

A federal judge in Houston has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Rap-A-Lot Records founder James Prince against cable network BET, Viacom and Apple Computer. The suit, filed last December, accused BET of incorrectly portraying Prince and his employee Thomas Randle as violent criminals and making “defamatory statements” about the two men. The complaint stemmed from a commercial that the network aired as a promotion for an episode of their American Gangster documentary series that centered on notorious Chicago gangster Larry Hoover. Prince and Randle argued that a photograph that was displayed during the commercial, showing Prince and Randle standing with Hoover—whom they visited in prison—incorrectly implied that they were killers and could hurt their professional reputations. The suit also named Viacom and Apple as defendants, claiming that the companies refused to stop selling the episode as a digital download at the iTunes store. According to the Houston Chronicle, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Friday (April 18) shot down Prince’s claims in a six-page ruling. Hughes ruled that the photograph was a fair depiction of the fact that the two men visited Hoover in prison and represented “a broadcast of accurate pictures of their social choices.”

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