Iraq veteran sues Moore over scene in 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
Friday 02 June 2006
A US military veteran who lost both his arms in the war in Iraq is suing the film-maker Michael Moore for $85m (£46m), claiming that the director incorrectly portrayed him as being against the war in the controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11.
Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation". The former sergeant says that Moore did not seek his permission to include television footage of him in the 2004 movie.
Mr Damon, 33, lost both his arms when a tyre on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and another reservist were working on it. Another serviceman was killed in the same incident. The National Guardsman was subsequently interviewed for an NBC's Nightline programme about a new painkiller that the military was testing on wounded veterans.
Moore's film condemned the Bush administration for going to war and sought to draw links between President George Bush's family and senior Saudi families, including that of Osama bin Laden. Mr Damon is shown lying on a gurney with his wounds bandaged. He is heard saying that he feels likes he is being "crushed in a vice. But [the painkillers] do a lot to help it. And they take a lot of the edge off of it." The clip follows a segment which shows a congressman, Jim McDermott, speaking about the Bush administration and saying: "You know, they say they're not leaving any veterans behind, but they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."
Mr Damon was yesterday not available for comment but in papers filed at the Suffolk County Court, Massachusetts, and obtained by the Associated Press, the former serviceman says that the positioning of the clip makes it sound like he agrees with Mr McDermott's comments and appears to "voice a complaint about the war effort".
Mr Damon's lawsuit says he "agrees with and supports the President and the United States' war effort, and he was not left behind". He says he had surgery and physical therapy, learned to use prosthetics and live independently, and had also been built a specially designed house. Mr Damon said he had been supported by "the President, the United States and his family, friends, acquaintances and community".
Mr Damon's lawyer, Dennis Lynch, said: "It's upsetting to him because he's lived his life supportive of his government, he's been a patriot, he's been a soldier, and he's now being portrayed in a movie that is the antithesis of all of that."
It is not clear why Mr Damon has waited until now to sue. Neither Moore nor Miramax Films has yet commented on the lawsuit.
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