Former NBC journalist Katie Couric is being sued for $12 million by Second Amendment proponents who say she defamed them in her pro-gun control documentary, Under the Gun.

Several members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League who appeared in the documentary argue Couric and the movie’s producers “intentionally manipulated” and edited “misleading footage” making the gun owners appear in a negative light.

“The film contains false footage purporting to show members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League sitting silently, stumped, and avoiding eye contact for nearly nine seconds after Couric asked, ‘if there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?’” the complaint submitted to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday states.

“After nearly nine seconds of silent footage – instead of the responses that the VCDL members had actually provided – the Defendants inserted footage of someone closing the cylinder of a fully-loaded revolver, driving home the point that the exchange was over,” [emphasis theirs] the plaintiffs argue in court documents obtained by

“The manipulated footage falsely informed viewers that the VCDL members had been stumped and had no basis for their position on background checks.”

Back in May, the Washington Free Beacon obtained audio from the actual interview in which Couric posed the question to VCDL members, revealing there was no awkward silence and instead showing members immediately responding to Couric.

Watch: Edited segment of documentary which deceptively shows VCDL members at a loss for words:

Listen: Actual audio of interview obtained by Washington Free Beacon:

The plaintiffs refer to the audio in their lawsuit.

“The exchange portrayed in the film is a work of fiction. Unedited audio recording of the exchange reveals that, in reality, Couric had expressly acknowledged that the VCDL members had an answer, and the VCDL members had not been stumped but had immediately begun explaining the bases for their position on background checks.” [emphasis theirs]

Following the Free Beacon’s revelations, Couric basically admitted fault, issuing a response saying she “took responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).”

“When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response….I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.”

But the damage to VCDL members’ reputations had already been done, and furthermore the footage has not been removed from the film.

“The Defendants have not removed the manipulated footage from the film or replaced it with non-manipulated footage of the exchange that actually took place,” the lawsuit says. “To this day, the Defendants continue to promote and publish the film.”

The plaintiffs are asking for “compensatory damages of not less than $12 million,” in addition to covering court and lawyer fees, punitive damage awards to each Plaintiff in the amount of $350,000 and an injunction “prohibiting the Defendants from disseminating, distributing, or publishing any footage of the VCDL’s members… determined to be false.”

Check out the court docs below:


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