ABC News was slapped with a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit this morning from Beef Products Inc. as a result of the networks' coverage of the great 2012 Pink Slime Shitstorm earlier this year. Oops, I'm sorry, it was the 2012 Lean Finely Textured Beef Shitstorm.
The coverage, a result of a massive grassroots social media campaign to raise awareness of its existence and heavy use of the processed meat creation by many food suppliers and markets, alerted millions of consumers to the actual composition of the product, many of whom found it repulsive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the beef company is claiming ABC News led consumers to believe pink slime is some kind of disgusting, unhealthy product! How dare they!
Dan Webb, a lawyer representing BPI, said ABC defamed its products by simply calling the beef additive "pink slime." Mr. Webb said BPI blames ABC News for causing consumers "to believe that our lean beef product, which is 100% beef, is something called pink slime; that is some type of unhealthy and repulsive liquid product that is not even meat."
Included in the defamation case are claims that ABC News reported pink slime as not being actual beef, but rather a by-product of cow carcasses squished through a Play-Doh machine and sold by "blacklisted" supermarkets.
News outlets around the country are also reporting that the lawsuit specifically targets reporter extraordinaire Diane Sawyer and USDA biologist Gerald Zirnstein, the inventor of the "pink slime" moniker.
BPI shut down several plants and is letting go of hundreds of employees, a decision made after numerous school lunch programs around the country opted to no longer include the product in their offerings.
ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider released a short statement this morning, saying simply, "The lawsuit is without merit. We will contest it vigorously."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.