NFL Star Jameis Winston threatens to sue CNN if the network airs the documentary accusing him of rape, "The Hunting Ground." The legal threat comes two days before the cable news network is set to debut the controversial documentary.
Speaking through his attorney, the former Florida State University, and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback wants CNN not to proceed with the showing of the documentary. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a letter to CNN's James Zucker contains accusations against the film's producers for not adhering to journalistic standards. "We are writing to caution formally CNN that the portions of the film 'The Hunting Ground' about Mr. Winston are false and defamatory to Mr. Winston," reads the letter. "We urge CNN to reconsider the reckless decision to proceed with the broadcast of this deeply-flawed documentary in the face of the overwhelming evidence the film's producers consciously and intentionally failed to adhere to any accepted journalistic standards," the letter continued.
It could be remembered that the NFL star was accused of rape by Erica Kinsman back during his Heisman Trophy season. Even though the Tallahassee Police Department and FSU carried out an investigation of the accusations, no action was taken against the player. Winston continued his sports career and got selected first overall in the NFL draft last May.
Based on this letter, Winston's camp alleges that the film has a lot of untruths in it, because it "manipulates, misstates or simply omits facts to present a false narrative." The filmmakers were accused of not considering evidence such as toxicology tests, medical examinations, and testimony from an eyewitness. Moreover, the letter claimed that one of the producers, Amy Hardy's proclamation that film serves to advocate the victim's story and not the perpetrators could be considered evidence that the documentary is flawed and subjective. As such, legal action would be pursued against CNN if the documentary is shown.
"CNN may have persuaded itself that Mr. Winston's status as a public figure insulates your company from a libel judgment," states the letter. "If CNN decides to proceed with this broadcast, we will perhaps have the opportunity to test that legal proposition in a court of law."
Winston's camp may be onto something about the documentary's credibility. In related news, the Washington Examiner reports that a crew member from "The Hunting Ground," had been editing Wikipedia articles just to make sure there is an alignment between the film's representations and the articles. Edward Patrick Alva, who is described on the film's IMDB page as part of the camera and electrical department, is said to be altering Wikipedia entries for months, even though the website expressly prohibited such activities if there is a conflict of interest involved. Moreover, it was found that on March 31, Alva changed Winston's Wikipedia page to remove texts with regard the FSU and Tallahassee police investigations.