Wednesday, July 25, 2007

20/20 sued by preacher for defamation

Rev. Fred K.C. Price, the 75 year old founder of Crenshaw Christian Center, alleged he was defamed when 20/20 ran a clip from 10 years ago. The statement they used was taken out of context, according to Rev. Price.

Price, founder of the Crenshaw Christian Center, was featured in a "20/20" segment about well-heeled televangelists titled "Enough!" that the suit says "devastated, embarrassed and greatly humiliated" the 75-year-old. The suit also names Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, and "20/20" co-anchor John Stossel.

In the March 23 segment, "20/20" ran a clip from a sermon Price delivered 10 years ago and displayed a still photo of the preacher as Stossel interviewed an activist who keeps tabs on how ministries spend congregants' donations. The suit calls the use of the clip "one of the most outrageous instances of 'out of context' editing in the history of television."

In the clip, Price declares, "I live in a 25-room mansion, I have my own $6-million yacht, I have my own private jet and I have my own helicopter and I have seven luxury automobiles."

What they did not explain was the fact that he was pointing out that there is such a thing as bad success. Without the clip being taken from the beginning, it portrayed him as a "hypocrite and thief" who financed an extravagant lifestyle with church funds, according to the lawsuit brought against 20/20.

Price does own the mansion pictured in the segment, which he bought in 1989. He does own two Bentleys, one of which was given to him by one of his parishoners, but he does not own a helicopter, yacht, or a private jet.

Congregants expressed their support for Price and disdain for "20/20."
"It's obviously so outlandish," said Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's former sidekick, who has attended the church for 15 years. "I know the man quite well, and there's no possible way" that Price would ever dip into church coffers.

Linked at Pursuing Holiness
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