American Gangster attacked by Feds
A group of ex-Federal Agents have filed a law suit against NBC Universal regarding the film American Gangster (Filmstalker review) and how it has smeared their reputations by distorting the truth of what really happened.
This time Hollywood doesn't seem like they'll be getting away cleanly with altering historical fact for the purposes of entertainment.
However the complaint isn't against the whole film, it seems that it's just against the closing credits which state that three-quarters of the Drug Enforcement Agency officers involved in the take down of Frank Lucas, the harlem drug lorg who was played by Denzel Washington, were convicted of wrongdoing after Lucas turned into an informant and began cooperating with the police.
“This legend is false, defamatory and libelous per se. No such thing ever occurred...Not a single agent of New York City's DEA, or any other law enforcement officer, was convicted of anything based upon the so-called 'collaboration' of Lucas and Roberts. Nor was a single agent of New York City's DEA or officer of the NYPD convicted in any case or investigation involving Frank Lucas whether based upon a collaboration of Lucas and Roberts or any other resource.”
Is the comment from the lawsuit through E! Online and Yahoo News, and the agents are looking for more than US $55 million in damages as well as a percentage of the box office takings. Not only that but they want to halt the further distribution of the film.
That to me sounds rather a lot, of course it does depend how many ex-agents are involved, it also depends on how their lives have been affected since. The article tells us that it's somewhere in the region of four hundred ex-agents, and that's one hell of a lawsuit.
One of the agents is now working with the Suffolk County, New York prosecutor and is currently embedded with troops in Iraq, and has said that they have been approached by twenty soldiers now asking how it was that the DEA can be so corrupt.
This hasn't come out of nowhere though, as the lawyer on the case sent a cease and desist letter to NBC Universal asking them to correct the end credits, which I assume they have not to date.
Hollywood have a habit of changing history throughout film and then not properly informing the audience members, and it's surprising how many people will take film as fact over going out and finding out the truth for themselves.
Is this kind of case justified? Considering they filed a letter way back in November asking Universal to detract the statements made at the end of the film? What could it mean for the film itself?