Published June 01, 2006
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming he recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, who strongly supports America's invasion of Iraq, said he never agreed to be in the 2004 movie, which trashes President Bush.
In the 2003 interview, which he did at Walter Reed Army Hospital for NBC News, he discussed only a new painkiller the military was using on wounded vets.
"They took the clip because it was a gut-wrenching scene," Damon said Tuesday. "They sandwiched it in. [Moore] was using me as ammunition."
Damon seems to "voice complaint about the war effort" in the movie, according to the lawsuit.
But what the father of two from Middleborough, Mass., was really talking about was the "excruciating" pain he felt after he lost his arms when a Black Hawk helicopter exploded in front of him.
Damon wasn't expressing any opinion about the war, the suit charges, but rather extolling the drug.
"I just want everybody to know what kind of a guy Michael Moore is, and what kind of film this is," said Damon. He has appeared in two films attacking "Fahrenheit" -- "Michael Moore Hates America" and "Fahrenhype 9/11."
In "Fahrenheit 9/11," the bandaged National Guardsman is shown laying on a gurney complaining that he feels like he's "being crushed in a vise. But they [the drugs] do a lot to help it and they take a lot of the edge off it."
His image appears seconds after Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) says, "You know, they say they're not leaving any veterans behind, but they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."
Damon -- the dad of an 8-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy -- doesn't come close to feeling that way.
"He couldn't have picked the worst guy to say that about," he told The Post.
"I'm the most fortunate disabled guy. I've even had a house built for me [by a nonprofit group, Home for Our Troops]."
Particularly outrageous to Damon is the fact that Moore never interviewed him or asked his permission to use the old clip.
"I was complaining about the pain I would've been having [if it weren't for the painkiller]," he said.
NBC is named in the suit -- which was filed in Suffolk County, Mass., on Friday -- along with Harvey and Robert Weinstein, Miramax Corp., Lions Gate Films and other production companies involved with the picture.
Newsman Brian Williams ends the NBC clip by adding, "These men, with catastrophic wounds are ... completely behind the war effort," according to the lawsuit.
That part, which wasn't shown in the Moore movie, is a far more accurate depiction of Damon's feelings, he said.
Lawyer Dennis Lynch said he took the case last year and they held off filing the lawsuit in a bid to settle the matter.
"We attempted to resolve the situation amicably with Mr. Moore [for a year] but he refused," he said.
Damon is asking for up to $75 million because of "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation."
In addition, his wife is suing for another $10 million because of the "mental distress and anguish suffered by her spouse."
Spokeswomen for NBC and Harvey and Robert Weinstein would not comment because they haven't seen the suit. Lions Gate doesn't comment on pending litigation, a rep said.
Michael Moore and Miramax reps didn't return calls for comment.