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What’s The Verdict: Mitre Sports International v. HBO

What’s The Verdict: Mitre Sports International v. HBO

Court is finally in session.  Six years ago (2008), a lawsuit was filed against HBO alleging that a child labor report that aired on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” was a hoax. The report accused Mitre Sports International, a British sporting goods company, of turning a blind eye to the use of underage workers for its production of soccer balls in India. As part of the child labor report, the show featured clips of children stitching Mitra soccer balls. It’s no surprise that Mitre denied charges saying that it would never endorse child labor.   Attorney for Mitre Sports International, argued that the scenes were all staged, describing the report as “concocted” and “flat-out lies.” According to Mitre, it was all a hoax and as a result has tarnished the reputation of the company. With that, the company is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages. But HBO is not giving up without a fight. The premium news channel stands by the report and said that no video footage was fabricated in any way, shape, or form.  In fact, HBO’s lawyer Dane Butswinkas told plaintiff Mitre they should be grateful for how generous their reporting was. Something is clearly off. Why would Mitre Sports International bring the case forward if they were wholly endorsing child labor? They wouldn’t because an investigation would probably prove they were doing so. But then why would HBO air a report that had no basis? This lawsuit comes after Rolling Stone Magazine ran into some serious trouble for inaccurate, unconfirmed reporting and NBC’s Brian Williams discrepancies in story-telling. If HBO is found guilty of fabricating any part of its new report, this will definitely hurt the premium channel’s reputation. The 12-member jury trial has officially started and is expected to last around 4 weeks…stay tuned for any updates on What’s the Verdict!


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