Epix is also feeling the heat for the controversial documentary
Activists for gun rights have filed a $12 million defamation lawsuit against Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric for the misrepresentation of a local Virginia group in the documentary ‘Under the Gun.’
The famous news anchor Katie Couric provides the narrating voice for the film, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Shortly after that, the documentary was purchased by the TV channel Epix and broadcasted on May.
As a result, Epix is also named in the lawsuit, although it had nothing to do with the production nor the claims made in it. The gun activist group who is seeking damages from director Stephanie Soechtig, narrator Katie Couric, and Epix, is the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).
Why is VCDL suing Couric and Schoetig?
‘Under the Gun’ is a 2016 documentary that explores the state of the gun debate in the United States. The film intends to provide a view of the agents, facts, and practices that slow down the solution process of an alarming and ever-growing problem in the country.
‘Under the Gun’ director Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric mainly stress the issue of background checks for gun sales. The film shows even though 84% of gun owners and 90% of Americans believe background checks should be mandatory to buy a gun, 40% of the people who legally own a gun didn’t undergo a record check.
The film also wanted to analyze the organized groups that defend gun rights. They interviewed members of the VDCL, and they included some of them in the movie. However, Daniel Howes and Patricia Webb, the ones suing, claim the scenes are biased.
According to them, Couric and Schoetig cut and edited the scenes to make the VDCL look like a disorganized group with little to no knowledge about gun laws.
Couric and Schoetig admitted to the editing
The whole ordeal first blew up in May following the airing of ‘Under the Gun’ on Epix. The suitors watched the film and immediately took to Facebook to call out Schoetig and Couric for the misrepresentation of events.
Schoetig and Couric separately issued their official statements, both admitting they had purposefully edited the scene to convey a different meaning.
The VCDL, Howes and Webb filed the defamation lawsuit against the defendants on Tuesday, September 13 in a federal court in their home state.
The plaintiffs are seeking $12 million in compensation, $350,000 in punitive damages for each of them, and coverage of all attorney fees and lawsuit expenses. They also expect to take Schoetig, Couric, and Epix to court, hoping to stop all further broadcast of the documentary until the scene is re-edited.
“it’s ironic that people who so passionately defend the Second Amendment want to trample the rights guaranteed to a filmmaker under the First” said a spokesperson for Stephanie Schoetig. He continued “Stephanie stands by ‘Under the Gun,’ and will not stop her work on behalf of victims of gun violence.”