University attorney’s Richard Mitchell and Avery McKnight produced legal documents holding RK Netmedia, Inc. responsible for placing misleading descriptions of FAMU in a sex tape.
The 19-page document states the video titled “BigRattler77,” contained visual portrayal and spoken references to FAMU, as well as suggesting the actors were FAMU students. Also, FAMU’s school colors , orange and green, are used repeatedly in the video.
Lawrence Walters, attorney for RK Netmedia, Inc., confirmed that the video was not recorded on FAMU’s campus. According to the document, RK gave eight of the actors $10,000 to shoot the video. In addition, RK did not seek or receive the university’s permission to use the FAMU logo or trademark on the company’s Web site or for any other purpose.
FAMU has requested that RK remove the video from its Web site and destroy all copies.
Walters said that he was “surprised to see that a lawsuit was filed over this, and that as soon as FAMU asked to take it down, the client did.”
Students at FAMU are not shocked by the lawsuit and some are satisfied with the trustee’s choice to sue. Patrice Morgan, 21, a second-year computer-engineering student from Tallahassee said the lawsuit was an appropriate response to a video she thinks was detrimental to FAMU and the community.
“It great that they’re suing the company,” Morgan said. “We already get a bad name as it is and we didn’t need moreand I totally thought this brought it down more.”
Although the sexually graphic film carried FAMU colors and attempted to copy the atmosphere of a dorm room, some students said the knew the location was not at FAMU.
“I knew it wasn’t FAMU just from looking at it,” said Harvey McAllister, 19, a first-year business administration student from Hampton, VA. “I think suing them is a good idea because that’s slander towards our name. This is a very good school.”
Some students do not think the lawsuit is the proper response in this situation.
Samuel Johnson, 19, a first-year pharmacy student from Miami, said suing RK would be a waste of time and money for a university already suffering financially from budget cuts.
“I think that it’s an embarrassment to the university that they would pass themselves off as students,” Johnson said. “The video is already made. Suing some little cheap porn Web site, we’re not going to get much money out of them. If you’re just trying to sue them for a lawsuit, court cost are probably going to cost a lot for the case anyway.”
According to Manta.com, a Web site that compiles information about small businesses, RK is a lucrative company with annual revenue of $5,000,000. It was reported that it would cost $50,000 to defend FAMU. The cost of damages FAMU suffered will be determined in trial.
Morgan thinks that by suing the company, FAMU will be setting an example for future cases involving the defamation of the university.
“If you try to tear our campus down, we’ll bring it back up, so don’t mess with FAMU,” Morgan said.