DEA Agents Sue NBC Over 'American Gangster'
A film that is preceded by the phrase 'inspired by true events' or 'based on a true story' always make me question how much 'truthiness' there is in the story being told. Then again, I think a healthy dose of Hollywood skepticism is probably a good thing. And filmic departures from 'reality' just leave me feeling a little disappointed.
But the DEA agents involved in this case are feeling more than a little disappointed, they're feeling outright defamed.
A group of retired federal drug enforcement agents sued NBC Universal on Wednesday, saying the movie "American Gangster" falsely portrayed them as villains in the story of a Harlem heroin trafficker.
The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that the movie defamed hundreds of DEA agents and New York City police officers by claiming at the end that Frank Lucas' collaboration with prosecutors "led to the convictions of three-quarters of New York City's Drug Enforcement Agency. [...]
Former DEA agents Jack Toal, Gregory Korniloff and Louis Diaz filed the class-action suit on behalf of themselves and 400 other agents who worked in the city between 1973 and 1985. They asked for at least $50 million in punitive damages.
"Most of the movie is not true," said Toal, who identified himself as one of the agents who worked with Lucas after he became an informant. "If they had said, 'This is based on a false story,' it would have been a lot better."