Dwarf Couple Threatens E!'s 'The Soup' With Lawsuit Over Dwarf Baby Joke
Comcast, E! Entertainment, The Soup host Joel McHale and the Associated Press are on the verge of being sued for defamation by a dwarf couple who object to the way they were presented in print and on television.
Cara and Gibson Reynolds were first featured in an AP article about the ethical boundaries in allowing parents to create "perfect" designer babies. In the article, the Reynoldses, a dwarf couple, were quoted as saying, "You cannot tell me that I cannot have a child who’s going to look like me...It’s just unbelievably presumptuous and they’re playing God.”
An alleged discussion of the article followed on E!'s The Soup, and included a photo of the Reynoldses.
But an attorney for the couple told Courthouse News the quote was never meant to imply that the couple intended to create a "made-to-order" baby with a genetic disposition to dwarfism, as stated in the television show, but merely to defend against critics who would object. The Reynoldses are said to be trying to adopt a Chinese baby, also a dwarf, at the time the clip aired, and that the show caused them emotional pain. The couple also adds that the show "never asked if their likeness could be used."
Now the Reynoldses have filed a praecipe for writ of summons against Comcast, E! Entertainment, McHale and AP in Philadelphia County's Court of Common Pleas, a precursor to a lawsuit.
Some state courts have recently expanded the boundaries of defamatory statements to include "implication." The couple appears to have consented to an interview request by the AP on a public interest topic, so a court will also have to determine whether they qualify as public figures or private ones.