Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Came across this story in the NY Post and thought it was interesting enough to pass along. The Soccer company Mitre is claiming that an HBO piece on the company was actually a "hoax and a hatchet job". The show painted the company as one that uses childhood labor in India, but Mitre has fired back with a lawsuit claiming above all else that HBO fabricated the whole thing. They even claim to have videos where workers say that Real Sports producers asked them to lie on camera....
Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Bernard Goldberg interviewed Manjit Kaur, 12, a purported orphan who claimed to earn 5 cents an hour making balls until "her back aches and her eyes hurt," according to the complaint.Wow, that's a hell of a claim, but stranger things have happened between businesses in the same industry. The article also states that Wal-Mart and Modell's Sporting Goods pulled the company's products off the shelf, so if this lawsuit turns out to be valid, Mitre could sue for tens of millions of dollars. It'll be interesting to see where this one goes, but much like any case, it will probably be dragged out for a year or so.
But in a video that's been entered into the court record as evidence, the little girl's father says his daughter was offered 100 rupees - the equivalent of $2 - in exchange for her cooperation.
"The show that was presented to tens of millions of people was a hoax and a hatchet job," Lloyd Constantine, Mitre's lawyer, charges in the complaint.
The company also obtained videos from the parents of two other children, Deepak and Aman Singh, 10 and 13, who they say also lied about squatting on dirt floors and missing school to make soccer balls, for the honor of being on television, the complaint claims.
Mitre believes it was targeted by HBO because it is a high-profile foreign manufacturer with exclusive contracts with Major League Soccer and the English Premier League.
Firm Kicks HBO (NY Post)