Don King Sues ESPN and Disney for $2.5 Billion

12.01.05 - Legendary boxing promoter Don King filed a $2.5 billion lawsuit against corporate giants Disney, ESPN, ABC Cable Networks and Advocate Communications Inc. today for airing a highly defamatory and reckless broadcast against King on Sports Century that also portrays King in a false light..

King’s attorney, high-profile trial lawyer Willie Gary, who routinely takes on corporate giants to fight injustice on behalf of his clients said “this case is one of the worst examples of reckless broadcast journalism and blatant disregard for the truth.”

Gary and his legal team are joined by nationally acclaimed, first amendment expert and trial lawyer, Bruce Rogow of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“Disney, ESPN, and other defendants had a duty to the public to make sure they checked their facts before airing such a defamatory piece against Don King. Sports Century not only falsely portrays Mr. King as a con artist, and a thug, but it published statements that are flat out untrue and could have been easily verified. In America, the press must be held accountable for the truth and accuracy of its publications and broadcasts. When the media publish or broadcast statements that show such reckless disregard for the truth, they must give an account for their actions,” Gary added.

The lawsuit also contends that Disney, ESPN, and other defendants broadcast statements that intentionally and recklessly portray Don King in a false light and create an inference and innuendo that King was dishonest and engaged in illegal activities including physically endangering others in order to succeed in his profession.

“I have a lot of respect for freedom of speech and freedom of the press in America. It’s a constitutional right. But the press does not have the right to slant and twist the truth to create a negative picture just because it sells. That’s not right,” said King.

Don King is one of the most internationally recognized boxing promoters in the world. In addition to having promoted some of the world’s most memorable championship fights, he has been instrumental in building the careers of boxing legends Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield, among others. King is also well known for his tremendous generosity and charitable contributions. He established the Don King Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes and organizations. As a longtime supporter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Wheelchair Charities, the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, the FDNY and NYC Department of Homeless Services, among others. His charitable contributions have made him arguably one of the world’s leading philanthropists.

Gary, who is best known in the legal circles as the “Giant Killer” in the court room, has built his reputation on defending his clients who have been wronged by corporate America. Gary is perhaps best known as a trial lawyer for his half billion-dollar verdict against Canadian corporate giant, the Lowen Group in 1995. Gary is also no stranger to Disney in the courtroom. He won a $240 million verdict against Disney for Disney’s misappropriation of a concept from his client in 2000. Last year Gary also won a landmark case for millions of dollars against media giant Gannett for similar actions as those alleged in Mr. King’s lawsuit against Disney and ESPN.

Article posted on 12.01.2005

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