George Zimmerman was on a mission to “punish” NBC for making him look bad. Unfortunately for the controversial public figure, a Florida judge was not having it.
Zimmerman filed a lawsuit against the network in 2012 over their coverage of his case, which included the 911 call he made.
According to his lawsuit, NBC’s “goal” was to “keep their viewers alarmed” at the case, believing that Zimmerman’s actions were racially motivated.
Zimmerman claimed that NBC “[menaced the viewers] with a reprehensible series of imaginary and exaggerated racist claims.”
In other words, the network’s sole goal in airing and editing Zimmerman was to show him as a racist murderer who killed Trayvon Martin because he was black.
— WKMG Local 6 News (@clickorlando) June 30, 2014
In the clip aired by NBC, Zimmerman (who had been ordered to stay in his vehicle by the 911 dispatcher), answered a question by saying, “He looks up to no good. He looks black.”
The case would eventually be brought to a grinding halt by Judge Debra Nelson.
Nelson reminded Zimmerman that his notoriety as a public figure was ultimately his own doing, not that of NBC.
— Jose Luis Dieppa (@JOSELUISDIEPPA) June 30, 2014
It was Zimmerman that “pursued a course of conduct that ultimately led to the death of Martin and the specific controversy surrounding it”.
In order for his case to continue, Zimmerman would have to prove that the network acted “with actual malice.” This legal standard means that NBC would have acted with the knowledge that what was shared about Zimmerman was false or the manner in which the material was shared was reckless.
Zimmerman’s downfall in the case is that the material used was genuine, and that the words spoken were his own.
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) June 30, 2014
Nothing in what was shared via the audio clip “resulted in a materially change in the meaning of what he actually said”.
Nelson said that the tape recording was “ambiguous at best”.
Without any further evidence of NBC’s intent as malicious, Zimmerman will just have to accept the fact that he is and will remain a notorious public figure.
Image via YouTube