HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel has won a civil suit brought against it by Mitre Sports, the UK-based sports equipment maker that accused the show of defaming it in a 2008 broadcast. The episode explored the use of child labor in sweatshop conditions in India to produce the company’s soccer balls.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan voted 11-0 today in favor of Real Sports, finding that the show “did not broadcast in a grossly irresponsible manner false or defamatory statements portraying Mitre as using, or turning a blind eye to others using, child labor or child bonded labor in the manufacture of Mitre soccer balls.”
HBO said in a statement: “We are delighted with the jury’s decision, which confirms what we have said since the beginning of this legal proceeding in the fall of 2008: This case was without merit, and the Real Sports reporting was unimpeachable. We couldn’t be prouder of the Real Sports franchise and the award-winning work done over the past 20 years. We are grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence.”