Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Soldier's widow sues National Geographic

Nov. 12, 2012 - 02:23PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 12, 2012 - 02:23PM  |  
  • Filed Under

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A widow of an Army soldier killed in a blast in Afghanistan has sued Fox Cable Networks and the National Geographic Society over a documentary that showed her husband and family.

The documentary about a combat hospital called "Inside Afghan ER" featured http://www.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-kevin-c-roberts/3521582">Staff Sgt. Kevin Casey Roberts, who was serving with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in Khost province in Afghanistan in 2008.

A year after his death, his wife, Donnice Roberts, got a call from a service member in Germany who saw her husband in the documentary. According to the lawsuit filed in Texas on Nov. 1, she never knew there was video footage related to her husband's death and that the documentary existed.

She is seeking at least $750,000 in damages and wants a judge to prevent the film from airing again. She also wants the cable network to stop using images of military families without their permission.

The documentary was produced and distributed by the National Geographic Society, and was promoted and distributed by Fox Networks Inc. and Fox Entertainment Group Inc., which owns part of the NatGeo network.

Scott Grogin, a spokesman for Fox Networks Group, said the film never aired in the United States. Instead, it aired on the National Geographic International channel.

Donnice Roberts said an image of herself and her children that had been stored on her husband's laptop was used in the documentary during scenes about his memorial service in Afghanistan. Grogin said the image of the family members was on display at the memorial service and was not taken from any personal computer or family archives as claimed in the lawsuit.

"The filmmakers got permission from the military to shoot the documentary and as part and parcel of that, were granted permission to shoot the memorial service," he said.

No one immediately answered the phone or email for National Geographic.

Donnice Roberts said she suffered mental anguish, shock and sadness from learning about the documentary.

"Moreover, Mrs. Roberts has fears and concerns that her minor children are depicted as the children of a warrior in the war on terror, which is fought by fanatic, radical individuals who have shown a propensity and desire to kill Americans, including women and children," the lawsuit said.

The Roberts family has appeared in a "Today" show segment about gifts donated to the family, but Donnice Roberts said that she knew how the images would be used and gave permission because the family was proud of her husband's service and sacrifice.

She said military families have a right to privacy.

"Those are our personal items. If you chose to show a family photo, that is your choice," she said. "But having it done without your permission, I just think it is immoral and an invasion of privacy."

Sgt. Roberts joined the Army after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and served two tours in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart and was buried in Texas, where his family lives.

The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division is based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

The push for pullups
Why soldiers want it added to PT test

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 19, 2014 3:13 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook