The tables have turned on Nancy Grace, as she finds herself the accused rather than the accuser in a recently filed defamation lawsuit.
Ben Seibert’s life changed when Nancy Grace aired his photograph during her broadcast on HLN Network. She told millions of viewers that Seibert had invaded a woman’s home, then snapped a picture of himself using the woman’s phone. Grace described this as a “textbook serial killer’s calling card.”
Seibert was quickly dubbed the “selfie stalker.”
It was a bizarre turn of events. After a Denver, Colorado, woman put her children to bed, she looked at her phone and found a picture of Seibert — a man she did not know or recognize. Assuming that he had entered her home while she was upstairs, she called the police and reported that a man had broken into her home and taken a picture of himself with her phone.
But in actuality, the picture the woman found of Ben Seibert on her phone had unknowingly been added to her phone through Facebook and was not, as Grace said, the calling card of a serial killer.
Seibert was actually working in California when the woman called the police in Denver. But a friend of Seibert’s called and informed him that his photo was being associated with a Denver home invasion. Seibert quickly contacted the Denver police and was cleared of all wrongdoing.
But that didn’t stop Nancy Grace.
Despite local police informing Nancy Grace, as well as the organization Crime Stoppers, that Seibert was innocent, Grace and the organization continued to air his photo and refer to him as the “selfie stalker.”
Seibert says that Grace’s untrue commentary humiliated him, and that he has been labeled as a “weirdo, sicko, rapist and pervert” on social network sites throughout the country. The lawsuit filed against Grace claims that Grace knew the facts, but simply did not care. The suit seeks more than $100,000 in damages from Grace and Crime Stoppers.
John Pineau, Seibert’s attorney, said, “It hasn’t been easy for him as a result of this.”
Board President of Denver Crime Stoppers told the Associated Press, “When we heard there was a mistake, or that it had been retracted, we pulled it off Facebook. We pulled it off Twitter. We pulled it off our website.”
Turner Broadcasting, which owns HLN, did not return any calls seeking comments.
The defamation lawsuit against Nancy Grace also includes other examples where Grace made “outrageous and defamatory” comments on television. The suit also notes that Grace has been admonished several times by different courts for for unethical conduct during the nine years she spent as a prosecutor.
“Based on the history we’ve researched regarding Ms. Grace, we’re pretty confident there are other victims,” Pineau said.
Nancy Grace is known for her inflammatory commentary on high-profile crimes. In 2012, Nancy Grace’s coverage of a mom who drank too much and accidentally smothered her baby prompted Grace to refer to the woman as “vodka mom.” Her commentary was so vicious that the woman ended up committing suicide. For more about that story, click here.
What do you think? Does Nancy Grace take it too far, even at the expense of the truth?
[Image via HLN TV]