The company that produces the beef product disparagingly referred to as “pink slime” in media accounts has filed a lawsuit in a South Dakota court against Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) ABC News, alleging defamation.
While the term “pink slime” was picked up by other news outlets, ABC was targeted because Beef Products felt the network incessantly reported the story, the Associated Press notes.
Citing about 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements made against its product on ABC News programs, Beef Products is demanding damages of $1.2 billion.
Company officials said the news reports led to the closure of three of its four manufacturing facilities as customers abandoned the product in the wake of the media reports. Seven hundred workers were laid off as a result.
Beef Products claims that ABC News’ coverage left consumers with the impression that it produced “an unhealthy pink slime, unsafe for public consumption.”
ABC News rejected the allegations in the suit and said it would fight Beef Products in court.
Legal experts said Beef Products would have to prove that ABC intended to harm the company in order for the suit to succeed. Disney shares were mostly flat in Friday morning trading.