Beef Products Inc. announced Thursday that the company has filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit against ABC News, three reporters (Diane Sawyer, Jim Avila and David Kerley) and others, claiming damages as a result of their reports on BPI’s lean finely textured beef product (LFTB) more colloquially known as “pink slime.”
“There has to be some consequences for news organizations to be more truthful,” stated Beef Products Inc. founder Eldon Roth in a video extolling the virtues of the product and outlining the company’s case against the news outlet. “They hurt real people, and a lot of people.” ABC News was just one of many media outlets reporting on the controversial product earlier this year, but BPI has focused in on the media giant for what it calls a “concerted disinformation campaign” against LFTB.
Dan Webb, the company’s lawyer, wrote in a public statement, “Through nearly 200 false, misleading and defamatory statements, repeated continuously during a month-long disinformation campaign, ABC and other individuals knowingly misled consumers into believing that LFTB was not beef and not safe for public consumption, which is completely false.”
The company will be asking a jury to award BPI more than $1 billion in compensatory and statutory damages, plus punitive damages for “defamation, product and food disparagement, and tortious interference with business relationships.”