George Zimmerman Loses Defamation Lawsuit Against NBC, Highlight Hollywood News
Zimmerman sued in December 2012 claiming that NBC distorted facts and edited his 911 call to make it appear as though his killing of Travyon Martin was racially motivated. “Their goal was simple,” stated Zimmerman’s lawsuit. The network attempted to “keep their viewers alarmed, and thus always watching, by menacing them with a reprehensible series of imaginary and exaggerated racist claims.”
As part of the lawsuit, Zimmerman objected that NBC hadn’t made it clear that he was answering a 911 dispatcher’s question when saying, “He looks like he’s up to no good. … He looks black.”
Zimmerman also was upset at the allegation that he used a racial epithet to describe Martin.
On Monday, Florida Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson issued a final judgment that determined that Zimmerman was a limited-purpose public figure for having voluntarily injected “his views into the public controversy surrounding race relations and public safety in Sanford and pursued a course of conduct that ultimately led to the death of Martin and the specific controversy surrounding it.”
As a result, in order to prevail in his lawsuit, Zimmerman needed to demonstrate that NBC acted with “actual malice,” a legal standard that means knowledge or reckless disregard of falsity.
The judge won’t let the plaintiff to go further.
A spokesperson for the network’s news division says, “NBC News is gratified by the court’s dismissal of this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit.”