‘Making a Murderer’ Filmmakers Sued for Defamation by Former Wisconsin Police Sergeant

Andrew Colburn, a former police sergeant in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, has sued the filmmakers of “Making a Murderer” as well as Netflix, for defamation over his portrayal in the docuseries.

“Making a Murderer” examines the 2007 convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach, casting doubts on Avery’s guilt, which hinged on evidence collected at the family’s auto salvage yard in Manitowoc County. Notably, it pursues a theory that law enforcement may have held a grudge and was looking to settle a score with Avery after he was released from prison earlier after a sexual assault charge was disproven by DNA testing.

Colburn’s suit, filed Monday in  Manitowoc County circuit court, says that Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the two filmmakers behind the series, wrongfully accused Colburn of framing Avery and Dassey for Halbach’s murder. Representatives for Ricciardi and Demos did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment; Netflix declined comment.

Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Attorney Kathleen Zellner Shares New Info ‘You Didn’t See in the Show’

“Neither plaintiff nor any other law enforcement officer planted evidence or in any other way attempted to frame Avery or Dassey for Halbach’s murder,” the lawsuit states. “Despite overwhelming evidence proving Avery and Dassey’s guilt and the utter absence of evidence supporting defendant’s accusations of police misconduct, defendants falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that plaintiff and others planted evidence to frame Avery for Halbach’s murder.”

The lawsuit further accuses the filmmakers of having “omitted, distorted, and falsified material and significant facts in an effort to portray plaintiff as a corrupt police officer who planted evidence to frame an innocent man.” This was done, the suit continues, “with actual malice and in order to make the film more profitable and more successful in the eyes of their peers, sacrificing and defaming the plaintiff’s character and reputation in the process.”

“Mr. Colburn has been subject to worldwide ridicule, contempt, and disdain since the release of ‘Making a Murderer’ almost exactly three years ago today,” Michael Griesbach, the attorney for Colburn, said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “His reputation and that of Manitowoc County, itself, has been severely and unjustly defamed. He is filing this lawsuit to set the record straight and to restore his good name. ‘Making a Murderer’ may have been a major professional achievement and a financial bonanza for its creators, producers, and distributors, but it has added another layer of tragedy to what was already a painful episode for our community and has callously poured salt into the wounds of a murder victim’s family that will never fully heal. My client hopes in some small measure to alleviate some of their pain.”

Griesbach continued: “Neither Mr. Colborn nor I intend to offer further public comment about his lawsuit. The dispute will be resolved where it should be, not in the court of public opinion where a related case has been much discussed, but in a court of law. We are asking you to respect our privacy.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Making a Murderer’ Attorney Kathleen Zellner Shares New Info ‘You Didn’t See in the Show’

‘Making a Murderer’ Part 2: 37 Updates Since the Series’ Debut (Photos)

‘Making a Murderer’: Steven Avery Denied New Trial, Again

‘Fresh Prince’ Star Alfonso Ribeiro Says Fortnite, NBA 2K Makers Ripped off His Carlton Dance in New Lawsuits

Alfonso Ribeiro is taking his fancy footwork to the courtroom.

Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has filed lawsuits against the companies behind the video games Fortnite Battle Royale and the NBA 2K games, accusing them of lifting the dance, often referred to as the Carlton Dance, that he popularized on the series.

In a lawsuit filed against Epic Games in federal court in California on Monday, Ribeiro contends, “Through its unauthorized use of Ribeiro’s highly popular signature dance (‘The Dance’ or ‘Dance’) in its smash-hit, violent video game, Fortnite Battle Royale (‘Fortnite’), Epic has unfairly profited from exploiting Ribeiro’s protected creative expression and likeness and celebrity without his consent or authorization.”

Also Read: Original ‘Fresh Prince’ Aunt Viv Blasts ‘Media Hoe’ Alfonso Ribeiro Over Reunion Snub

According to the suit, Ribeiro created the dance in 1991 and first performed it in the “Fresh Prince” episode “Will’s Christmas Show,” and that more than two decades later, the dance “remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness.”

The suit says that Epic infringed on Ribeiro’s dance by selling it as an in-game purchase in Fortnite under the name “Fresh,” which players can buy to customize their avatars for use in the game.

Also Read: Justin Timberlake, Alfonso Ribeiro Bust Out the ‘Fresh Prince’ Carlton Dance on Golf Course (Video)

“Epic did not seek, much less obtain, Ribeiro’s consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or creative [sic] a derivate work based upon The Dance or Ribeiro’s likeness,” the suit, which alleges copyright infringement, unfair advantage and other counts, reads.

Ribeiro is asking for a restraining order against Epic barring them from using the dance, as well as unspecified damages.

On Monday, Ribeiro also filed a similar lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, 2K Sports and 2K Games, making similar accusations in regard to the NBA 2K line of games.

Also Read: ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ Just Made $318 Million in a Single Month

TheWrap has reached out to Epic, Take-Two and 2K for comment on the lawsuits.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Original ‘Fresh Prince’ Aunt Viv Blasts ‘Media Hoe’ Alfonso Ribeiro Over Reunion Snub

‘Fresh Prince’ Star Alfonso Ribeiro Wins Last Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at Long Beach Grand Prix

Alfonso Ribeiro Will Step In for Tom Bergeron as Host of ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Spike Lee on the New Wave of Hit-Making Black Filmmakers: ‘I Hope This Is Not a Trend’

This story about Spike Lee and “BlackKklansman” star John David Washington first appeared in Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Spike Lee is quick to remind anyone that he’s in his fourth decade — not as a brag, but because he’s worked hard to reach his level and because with it comes a certain understanding of the art, the industry and the world outside he’s so keen to hold a mirror to.

In his latest film, the fact-based drama “BlacKkKlansman,” Lee pulls no punches in exploring unchecked racism and inequality, an arena he’s been exploring for his entire career. The film stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, the first black officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

There’s a narrative out there with “BlacKkKlansman” that Spike Lee is back.

SPIKE LEE: Where’d I go?

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: I’m ’bout to say, he ain’t never left.

LEE: False narrative, that’s all I can say about it — still here, still living, still growing, still teaching my students. I wouldn’t be here if I let stuff get in my head and deter me from the course that I’ve been on.

You’ve been making movies for a long time, fighting a lot of the same battles and finding ways to explore some of the same issues.

LEE: The struggle continues.

WASHINGTON: We were talking about that earlier.

LEE: I got the answers — my friends call me Negrodamus.


Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Fact-Check: Spike Lee’s Film Stays Close to the ‘Crazy, Outrageous, Incredible True Story’

You’ve heard this before?

WASHINGTON: I want us all to enjoy it, though. I’m not gonna interrupt.

LEE: Negrodamus. We were talking about global warming in “Do the Right Thing.” I wrote that in ’88. We were talking about gentrification in “Do the Right Thing.”

John David, when you were acting in this film you were forced to contend with this rhetoric that’s raised its head again, of people saying the N-word, and to be around these symbols of oppression…

WASHINGTON: I wouldn’t have done this for anybody else. You know Spike Lee was born to do this story. This is what he does. But those are very difficult moments, especially the banquet scenes. It was very hard. But at the same time I knew we were in the hands of a cinematic tone master. So it was going to be done the right way. That took the burden off of some of those words that we live with every day.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Film Review: Spike Lee Looks Back – and Forward – in Anger

Spike, you’ve probably known John David his entire life, but how did you know he could pull off this role?

LEE: I knew it. I just knew it, you know? There’s a word called cliché, but before something became a cliché it was a truth. So I’m giving you what is now a cliché: The fruit does not fall far from the mothaf—ing tree.

WASHINGTON: I’m not sure that’s the actual quote, but that’s the Spike Lee version. That’s some real for real.

LEE: I put some flavor on it.

WASHINGTON: Always. Yup, yup. Thank you, Spike.

LEE: And then I’d like to say, this man is the son of Pauletta and Denzel Washington. Because I was guilty, and my wife Tonya said, “I do not want you in front of the camera anymore, when you are referring to John David Washington, to just say ‘the son of Denzel.’”

You’ve obviously worked a lot with Denzel on films over the years. And now working with John David…

LEE: Two different people. Two different people. And I’d just like to say, it’s not easy being the son of Denzel Washington when you’re an actor — that ain’t easy. He’s not going to say it, but I took the liberty to say it. It’s not easy being related to nobody in this industry. People, this s— is no joke. This is a very serious business. You see people in all their glory, but you don’t see the hard work they put in. The years of blood, sweat and tears. I mean, this s— is hard.

WASHINGTON: You said that a couple times while we were filming. Like, it’s hard to make a bad movie.

LEE: It’s hard to make a f—ed-up movie. This is something I tell my students all the time, that this industry will eat you up and spit you out. And it takes talent but also hard work.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and Angela Davis: the Story of the Patrice’s Revolutionary Hero (Podcast)

We’re now seeing a lot more African American filmmakers, actors, creators being able to show what they’ve got.

WASHINGTON: On his shoulders.

LEE: It his has nothing to do with me. I just hope that this is not a trend. I hope this is steady, that it’s not just like a blip where everything came together and then nothing happens after this. We have to keep up the momentum.

WASHINGTON: And I personally would like to see more behind the camera, in those executive seats and the PR department. I would like to see more people of color doing their thing to contribute to the arts in other ways than just acting, directing or writing.

LEE: What my man says is very important, because everybody can’t be in front of the camera. And the truth is, the people with the most power are behind the camera. Everybody can’t be fabulous, you know? Can’t be getting their shine, you know?

Read more from the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Related stories from TheWrap:

AFI’s Top 10 List Ranges From ‘Black Panther’ and ‘A Star Is Born’ to ‘First Reformed’ and ‘Eighth Grade’

‘BlacKkKlansman’: Here’s What Happened to the Real NORAD Klansmen in Charge of Protecting Us From Nukes

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Fact-Check: Spike Lee’s Film Stays Close to the ‘Crazy, Outrageous, Incredible True Story’

With ‘Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles’, Director Salvador Simó Delves Into Origins Of Iconic Filmmaker

With his latest feature, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, writer/director Salvador Simó dove into a pivotal moment in the life of one of his artistic heroes. Striving to demystify an icon who maintained a shroud of secrecy around himself, Simó o…

John Grisham Shared Universe in Development at Hulu, Starting With ‘Rainmaker,’ ‘Rogue Lawyer’

Hulu has begun development on a John Grisham shared universe, the streamer announced on Tuesday. The first two projects in development are companion series adaptations of “Rogue Lawyer” and “The Rainmaker.”

Written and executive produced by Michael Seitzman and Jason Richman, the storylines of the two projects in what is being called “The Grisham Universe” will stand on their own, but will intersect at points and share characters. The series will be designed such that viewers can watch each season independently or bounce from the first episode of “Rainmaker” to the first episode of “Rogue Lawyer,” then back to “Rainmaker,” etc.

Published in 2015, “Rogue Lawyer” follows the unconventional street lawyer Sebastian Rudd, known for taking on the cases no one else will touch, as he’s contacted by a serial kidnapper who knows the whereabouts of the assistant chief of police’s missing daughter.

Also Read: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ Go to War With Their Parents in Season 2 Trailer (Video)

“The Rainmaker,” first published in 1995, centers on a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. It was previously adapted into a 1997 film starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Claire Danes and Jon Voight.

Grisham will serve as an executive producer on the ABC Signature Studios production. Christina Davis of Seitzman’s Maniac Productions will also executive produce.

Hulu’s approach to the “Grisham Universe” is similar to how the streamer is adapting George R. R. Martin’s “Wild Cards” book series. Andrew Miller is on board to write and executive produce two separate series based on the sci-fi anthology, which is set in a version of the present where an alien virus has wiped out 90 percent of those it infected.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Documentary ‘Ask Dr. Ruth’ Picked Up by Hulu and Magnolia

George RR Martin’s ‘Wild Cards’ Books to Become 2 TV Series at Hulu

‘Veronica Mars’ Revival: Here’s Everything We Know About Kristen Bell’s Hulu Run – So Far

Geoff Murphy Dies: Kiwi Filmmaker Who Worked On ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ Trilogy Was 80

Geoff Murphy, a leading figure in the New Zealand movie industry in the 1970s and ’80s who also helmed such Hollywood fare as Young Guns II and Freejack and was second-unit director on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has died. He was 80. Murphy&#8…