Bristol Palin sued for defamation by bar heckler

Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:43pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man who heckled Bristol Palin in a Los Angeles bar and insulted her conservative politician mother, Sarah Palin, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the single mom of defamation.

Talent manager Stephen Hanks also sued cable channel Lifetime, which includes film of the 2011 incident in Bristol Palin's upcoming reality TV show, claiming he had not given the program's makers his permission to be filmed.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles, stems from a widely publicized September 2011 incident at a bar and restaurant on the famous Sunset Strip.

The amount of damages is not specified but Hank's lawyer, Los Angeles-based Michael Gulden, told Reuters the suit had been filed in federal court because the plaintiff was seeking more than $75,000.

Representatives for Palin and Lifetime did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Palin, who rose to fame because of a teen pregnancy when her mother was running for U.S. vice president in 2008 as a Republican, had just ridden a mechanical bull at the bar when Hanks, who was a customer there, shouted out that her mother was "a whore" and said she was "evil".

Video of the exchange that was widely posted on the Internet shows Palin, 21, confronting Hanks, asking him if he was gay, and getting into a heated exchange with the man who heckled her.

Palin later told celebrity magazine In Touch that the incident was one of the reasons she had decided to leave Los Angeles and return to her home in Wasilla, Alaska.   Continued...

Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin (2nd L) talks with her daughter Bristol Palin (2nd R) as she arrives at the embassy of Italy for an MSNBC after-party following the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington May 1, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst