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Sony to Pay $1.5M Over Fake Movie Critic

Sony Pictures Entertainment must pay $1.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the studio of citing a fake movie critic in ads for several films.

After the dispute came to light, the studio temporarily suspended two executives and vowed to monitor its publicity and advertising more closely.

The lawsuit, originally filed by two California moviegoers, claimed the ads fooled the plaintiffs into seeing "A Knight's Tale". Other movies with similar ads were "Vertical Limit," "The Animal", "Hollow Man" or "The Patriot" during their original theater runs in 2001.

In one ad for the action-comedy, a critic identified as "David Manning of The Ridgefield Press" was quoted calling star Heath Ledger "this year's hottest new star!"

In an ad for "The Animal," Manning was quoted declaring, "The producing team of 'Big Daddy' has delivered another winner!"

At the time, The Ridgefield Press, a small weekly newspaper in Connecticut, did not have a movie critic named David Manning, the lawsuit said.

Some of the movies Manning praised had already received positive reviews from real critics.

August 04, 2005 |

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