C.W.Post College sued for $2.5ml for firing students who made terrorist video spoof - apologies for 'offending Muslims'
February 12, 2007
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lipost0210,0,4032586,print.story?coll=ny-li-columnists Judge steps in for students fired for video spoof http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lipost0210,0,4032586,print.story?coll=ny-li-columnists A judge issued an order Friday preventing the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University from taking further action against several students who made a mock hostage video, and the students apologized and said they didn't intend to offend Muslims.
With some three dozen Post students supporting the "C.W. Post Five," their lawyer, Frederick K. Brewington of Hempstead, announced the temporary restraining order issued by State Supreme Court Justice Antonio I. Brandveen pending a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
"This is a victory," said Brewington, standing alongside four of the five students -- William McDermott, of Snow Hill, Md.; Jordan Marmara, of Franklin Square; Bert Estrada, of Orlando; and Robert Bennett, of Cobleskill, originally from Copiague. The fifth student, Dustin Frye, could not attend the news conference, Brewington said.
Brewington also filed a $2.5 million wrongful termination and discrimination suit in State Supreme Court Friday against the college and three staff members. The students were fired Feb. 2 from their campus jobs as resident assistants.
Brewington charged the administrators had "defamed" the students by calling them racists and psychologically troubled, and had likened the video spoof to the 1998 dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas. He added the administrators had made the students out to be like "monsters. They are not."
Brewington said the college discriminated by treating his clients more harshly than three female RAs who last month made their own video spoof using Middle Eastern imagery. He said they got to keep their jobs.
College spokeswoman Rita Langdon said in a statement: "The matter is in litigation and we cannot comment at this time."
The students said they are dismayed by treatment from administrators.
"I was told by the administration that we might want to keep this quiet because I wouldn't want this to come back and hurt my political career in the future," said McDermott, 21, who said he was the youngest candidate to run for the House of Delegates in Maryland last year. He did not win.
Said Bennett: "I feel like we were all thrown to the curb."
In their two-minute video, "A Duck Napping," four of the students appear in ski masks holding hostage the dorm's mascot, a rubber duck. In broken English, they make demands for ransom items. Middle Eastern-sounding music can be heard in the background, and the words "Muhammad" and "jihad" can be heard.
"Respectfully, if we offended anyone, we have been very forthright in saying we are sorry and we have apologized to them," McDermott said. "That being said, it is what it is. It is a satire on terrorism ... "
Bennett said many of the lines in the video were taken from "Team America: World Police," the 2004 film written by the "South Park" creators.