December 1, 2008

Dubai film fest bosses sued for libel

The founder of the Dubai International Film Festival says he is suing the film fest's former chairman and managing director for libel.

Neil Stephenson, the film fest's former CEO, has filed a lawsuit in a London High Court against two former senior colleagues he said falsely accused him of being a racist and an Arab hater.

Stephenson said he established the film fest in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States to bring reconciliation between the West and the Islamic world.

The High Court writ Stephenson filed claims festival Chairman Abdulhamid Juma and Managing Director Shivani Pandya labeled him a racist, then illegally conspired to engineer his exit from the festival in late 2006, and tried to ruin his reputation by making untrue and damaging claims against him.

Stephenson said he has brought this action reluctantly after his attempts to reconcile matters in private proved unsuccessful.

I am saddened that this dispute could not be amicably resolved, but I will continue to fight for justice and for my rightful credit, Stephenson said in a statement.