Dubai: Suit is 'grandiose crusade'


The Dubai International Film Festival said Wednesday that the lawsuit filed against it in the U.K. by the fest's founder and former CEO Neil Stephenson is baseless.

"Mr. Stephenson wants to turn a garden-variety executive departure into a grandiose crusade," DIFF said.

Stephenson filed suit in the U.K. High Court of Justice last week against DIFF chair Abdulhamid Juma and managing director Shivni Pandya, claiming they called him an "Arab hater" in the press.

The U.K. action was taken after Stephenson abandoned his appeal in California in November. That case, which makes the same claims as the U.K. one, was on appeal after a Los Angeles judge had dismissed it, citing jurisdictional issues including that Juma, Pandya and Stephenson are not residents of Los Angeles.

Stephenson has brought the court action after attempting "to reconcile matters amicably in a private way," he said.

Stuart Kemp in London contributed to this report.