Undisclosed damages to include return of film footage
LAS VEGAS, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A California federal court has found that two vocal critics of the Raelian Movement (www.rael.org) fabricated stories about the organization. The court awarded undisclosed damages to the Raelians, including the return of film footage.
Abdullah Hashem and Joseph McGowen appeared on Fox News and other media outlets in 2005-2006, saying they saw people recruited through sex and that acts of pedophilia took place at a Raelian seminar in 2005.
Raelians have claimed for years that the two men lied about what they reported, and they have now been legally vindicated. On September 15, the federal court issued a final judgment against Hashem, who was also ordered to return all film footage taken at the seminar to the Raelian Movement. A copy of the ruling is available upon request under:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of California: International Raelian Movement v. Hashem (Case No. 2:08-cv-00687-GEB –DAD).
"We've been waiting for this day for five years and we have finally been vindicated in a U.S. Federal Court," said Ricky Roehr, spokesperson for the Raelian Movement. "What Hashem did was criminal, but it was only one small step further than what many other media have done when reporting about us. Grossly exaggerating events or sensationalizing and distorting facts is the way lies are circulated to cause a great damage to innocent people. Thanks to the U.S. court system, we are finally able to put to rest all the false rumors and outright lies that have been circulating about our philosophical organization."
Roehr was asked how the incident happened.
"When Abdullah Hashem and Joseph McGowen offered to make a documentary about the Raelian Movement in 2005, they presented themselves as up and coming filmmakers. But it turned out that they were more intent on committing extortion and spreading lies about the Raelian Movement than on producing a bona fide and fair documentary. When the Raelian Movement refused to pay them the blackmail money they demanded, the film footage was edited into a hate video branding the Raelian Movement as an evil cult. The video was then posted all over the Internet and Hashem also sold it right up until now. They even convinced the Religious Studies Department of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to sponsor the film."
Raelians are known for their Happiness Academies (aka Raelian seminars) and hedonistic lifestyle. Roehr says that lifestyle is almost always reported out of context.
"We work incessantly toward human rights, love and equality for all people," Roehr said. "That includes the rights of any filmmaker or journalist who want to attend our seminars. However, they do not have the right to make up lies about us or our leader."
SOURCE Raelian Movement