CNN Ignores Lawsuit Threat, Airs Film on Campus Rape

Lawyers for implicated NFL player warned against it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2015 10:04 AM CST

(Newser) – CNN aired a documentary about campus rape Sunday night—and this one came with the threat of a lawsuit ahead of time. The network ran The Hunting Ground, a documentary first seen at the Sundance Film Festival, reports NPR. The most controversial part includes an interview with Erica Kinsman, who accuses football star Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her while at Florida State. Winston, a Heisman winner who is now a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, never faced criminal rape charges, and the school cleared him of misconduct, notes the New York Times. Kinsman is suing Winston, however, and Winston's lawyers now may do the same to CNN, reports the Hollywood Reporter.

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"We are writing to formally caution CNN that the portions of the film 'The Hunting Ground' pertaining to Mr. Winston are false and defamatory to Mr. Winston," says a letter to CNN obtained by the site ahead of Sunday's airing. But CNN shot back in a statement that it is "proud to provide a platform for a film that has undeniably played a significant role in advancing the national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses." Winston's legal team says the film “manipulates, misstates or simply omits facts to present a false narrative," but filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering say "the truth is on our side." (Read more Jameis Winston stories.)

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