Writer Files Wrongful Termination Suit Against Cleveland Scene

june 5, 2009  03:19 pm
James Renner says a story he wrote alleging that a Republican gubernatorial candidate had an affair with a former aide was killed after the politician threatened to file suit if it was published. Renner says that when he complained about this in an email to the CEO of Scene parent company Times Shamrock, he was fired. "I was told by both my publisher and my editor that the story was spiked because we couldn't afford another lawsuit," Renner tells Editor & Publisher. Times Shamrock CEO Matthew Haggerty begs to differ. "Our decisions concerning whether or not to publish any story, including the story referenced in Mr. Renner's lawsuit, is never dictated by the threat of potential litigation," he said in a statement. "Rather, Mr. Renner's draft story was passed over for publication because it did not meet management's basic standards of journalism as required of all our reporters and editors." In addition to demanding reinstatement, Renner is asking the court to declare the story he submitted to Scene not defamatory. The suit names the gubernatorial candidate in question, Ohio State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, as a defendant.