Fox News reports that two brothers — fired from their jobs for filming a gangster rap parody at an A&P grocery store — now face a defamation lawsuit from their former employer. The video is at FakeLaugh or here on YouTube. Fox reports:
- A&P claims the video by Mark and Matthew D’Avella motivated at least one “disgusted and distressed” customer to boycott the supermarket because of the video’s “repulsive acts.”
- The Montvale-based chain seeks at least $1 million in compensation and demands that the D’Avellas remove “Produce Paradise” from the Internet, where it was on their Web site, www.fakelaugh.com, and YouTube.
This is a classic public-relations blunder by A&P. It would appear that the brothers went to great lengths to shield their employer from any reference in the video
- No exterior shot.
- The circular was cropped so A&P wasn’t listed.
- None of the boxes visibly say A&P.
- No shots depicted the logo on signage (that I noticed- and I was looking for it).
- And although a logo is partially visible on a hat, I wouldn’t have noticed that had I not read the Fox story first.
A&P certainly can take issue with the kids making a video without permission on the private facility- poor judgment that I myself have displayed. But this defamation lawsuit will only do three things:
- Propel the duo’s video career.
- Make A&P look like worst than they’d ever look if they left this alone by quietly reprimanding or firing the kids on the basis of poor judgment not defamation.
- Help someone in middle management at A&P because they’re embarrassed about a few customers complaining, and want to redirect accountability.
A&P management’s position on this matter should be self explanatory. Producing a video that intentionally and unjustly depicts our company in a negative light, and utilizing company facilities without management knowledge of the specific content involved, is obviously a blatant violation of our policy.
Accordingly, the company has dismissed both employees, and is exploring legal avenues for the recovery of damages, and the removal of any and all videos about the Company from the website where it has been posted by the individuals.
We will continue to work through our store management, labor union and legal process to bring this unfortunate series of events to an appropriate conclusion, and will have no further public comment while that process continues.
Richard De Santa,
Senior Director, Corporate Affairs