'Out of the Furnace' film defamatory, tribe claims in lawsuit
NEWARK — Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie that they say depicts their people in a negative light.
The federal suit was filed on Monday in New Jersey against the writers and producers of “Out of the Furnace.” The suit claims the film makes false representations about the people who live in the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border about 25 miles west of New York City.
It claims that unsavory characters in the film have last names that are common among the Ramapough and that it perpetuates negative and unfounded stereotypes.
Relativity Media, which released the film this month, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. But a representative told other news outlets that the company could not comment because it had not seen or had time to review the suit.
The movie stars Christian Bale as a man trying to find his missing brother, who has gotten involved with a bare-knuckle fighting ring in the mountains of New Jersey.
The movie's villain, played by Woody Harrelson, has the last name DeGroat, which is common among the Ramapough. Tribal members identify as descendants of the Lenape or Lunaape Nation, with some Dutch and other European ancestry in their heritage. Most of the 17 plaintiffs in the suit have the DeGroat last name.
Harrelson's character is the leader of a gang of “inbreds,” according to the suit, who are depicted as lawless, drug-addicted, poor and violent, and live in the “mountains of New Jersey.”
The film uses the term “Jackson Whites,” a historically derogatory term for the Ramapough, and refers to “the inbred mountain folk of Jersey,” according to the suit.
The plaintiffs, who are mostly from New Jersey and New York, with one from Tennessee, seek punitive and compensatory damages and allege defamation, mental anguish and emotional distress.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Feds to protect 20 coral species
- Pilot missing in Va. fighter crash
- Johns’ ex-aide admits thefts
- Defense rests in case against ex-Va. governor, first lady
- Louisiana Gov. Jindal sues Obama over Common Core
- Texas man cleared of shooting drunken driver who killed his 2 sons
- Polygamists set to open winery in border town
- Ferguson regains its peace, normalcy
- Forest Service OKs logging in California forests hit by wildfire
- Insurers can discourage sickest patients from enrolling
- Pair of ‘barbaric murders’ in Philly believed to have been carried out by gang