Armless Sergeant Claims $85 Million For ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ Appearance
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BOSTON – A veteran who lost both arms in the war in Iraq is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for $85 million, alleging that Mr. Moore used snippets of a television interview without his permission to falsely portray him as anti-war in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
Sergeant Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Middleborough, is asking for damages because of “loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation,” according to the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week.
Sergeant Damon, 33, claims that Mr. Moore never asked for his consent to use a clip from an interview Sergeant Damon did with NBC’s “Nightly News.”
He lost his arms when a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and another reservist were servicing the aircraft on the ground. Another reservist was killed in the explosion.
In his interview with NBC, Sergeant Damon was asked about a new painkiller the military was using on wounded veterans. He claims in his lawsuit that the way Mr. Moore used the film clip in “Fahrenheit 9/11” – Mr. Moore’s scathing 2004 documentary criticizing the Bush administration and the war in Iraq – makes him appear to “voice a complaint about the war effort” when he was actually complaining about “the excruciating type of pain” that comes with the injury he suffered.
In the movie, Sergeant Damon is shown lying on a gurney, with his wounds bandaged. He says he feels likes he’s “being crushed in a vise.”
“But they [the painkillers] do a lot to help it,” he says. “And they take a lot of the edge off of it.”
Sergeant Damon is shown shortly after Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat of Washington, is speaking about the Bush administration and says, “You know, they say they’re not leaving any veterans behind, but they’re leaving all kinds of veterans behind.”
Sergeant Damon contends that Mr. Moore’s positioning of the clip just after the congressman’s comments makes him appear as if he feels like he was “left behind” by the Bush administration and the military.
In his lawsuit, Sergeant Damon says he “agrees with and supports the President and the United States’ war effort, and he was not left behind.”
He said that while at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering from his wounds, he had surgery and physical therapy, learned to use prosthetics and live independently. Homes for Our Troops, a not-for-profit group, built him a house with handicapped accessibility.
“The work creates a substantially fictionalized and falsified implication as a wounded serviceman who was left behind when plaintiff was not left behind,” Sergeant Damon says in his lawsuit.