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Former TLC founder accuses Viacom of defamation for TV movie

When the founder of the three-woman singing group TLC was let go from her contract after the group filed for bankruptcy in 1995, she upset to say the least. As she explains, she poured her heart and soul into the group and was more than shocked when the group conspired with their record label to cut her out of the contract before the first album was even released.

But when Viacom, owner and operator of various television networks such as VH1, released a movie that allegedly told the “real story” of how the band rose to success, the former founder was shocked at not only how the movie was being promoted but how she was portrayed in the film as well.

According to her defamation lawsuit, Viacom’s depiction of her as a “conniving and dishonest business woman” had a negative effect on her reputation as well as her relationship with the band. By promoting the movie as a “true story,” audiences were initially led to believe that the former founder “hoodwinked three innocent girls and exploited their talent for her own personal gain,” her lawsuit claims. She is now suing for $40 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Unfortunately for the woman in this case, the creative liberties taken in the movie created a legal issue that now requires the help of skilled attorneys. And while her lawsuit will not change what has already happened, it may at least provide her with some remedy. It may even discourage Viacom from making a legal mistake such as this again in the future.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “TLC Founder Says Viacom Defamed Her,” Iulia Filip, April 30, 2014

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