by Bob Owens
September 13, 2016
Film producer Katie Couric and her director Stephanie Soechtig edited their anti-gun documentary Under the Gun in order to make a gun rights group in Virginia look as if they couldn’t answer a simple question.
They’re now facing a $12 million defamation lawsuit, according to documents provided to Bearing Arms.
Second Amendment rights advocacy organization the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), along with two of its members, today filed a $12 million defamation lawsuit against Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, Atlas Films, and Studio 3 Partners LLC d/b/a Epix for false and defamatory footage featured in the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun. The film portrays a fictional exchange in which members of the VCDL appear silent, stumped, and avoiding eye contact for nearly nine seconds after Katie Couric asks a question about background checks. An unedited audio recording of the interview reveals that—contrary to the portrayal in the film—the VCDL members had immediately begun responding to Couric’s question.
In the filing, the VCDL, Daniel L. Hawes, Esq., and Patricia Webb allege that the filmmakers knowingly and maliciously manufactured the fictional exchange by splicing in footage that the filmmakers took surreptitiously after telling the interviewees to be silent for ten seconds so that recording equipment could be calibrated. The filing also contains side-by-side screenshots of the film’s footage of the VCDL members and anti-gun advocates, alleging that the filmmakers manipulated lighting to cast shadows on the VCDL members and to make them appear sinister and untrustworthy. “We were horrified to see how Couric and her team manipulated us and the video footage to make us look like fools who didn’t stand up for the Second Amendment,” said Mr. Philip Van Cleave, President of the VCDL. “We want to set the record straight and hold them accountable for what they’ve done. You shouldn’t intentionally misrepresent someone’s views just because you disagree with them.”
The lawsuit, filed in federal court (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia– Richmond Division), seeks $12 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages. The VCDL, Mr. Hawes, and Ms. Webb are represented by Tom Clare, Libby Locke, and Megan Meier of Clare Locke LLP, a boutique law firm specializing in defamation litigation.
What is not yet known is if Couric, Soetchtig, and one of their producers will face federal gun crimes criminal charges for obvious felonies they committed in Arizona while making the anti-gun film.