Hulu Removes James Gordon Meek Documentary After Child Porn Conviction

5

[ad_1]

Six weeks after being convicted for possessing and transporting child sexual abuse material, former ABC News producer James Gordon Meek and his footprint in the world of investigative journalism are quietly disappearing.

Hulu removed Meek’s Emmy-nominated documentary “3212 Un-Redacted” from its platform this past week. The film, which delves into the deaths of four U.S. Special Forces soldiers in Africa and exposes a government cover-up, was produced by ABC News and first launched on Hulu in November 2021.

A source familiar with the matter says the film’s licensing window expired and will not be renewed. Although the film, which is based on Meek’s reporting, was considered an impressive feat of investigative journalism, the prospect of keeping it on Hulu became untenable given that the disgraced producer is featured prominently on camera.

Likewise, ABC News also has quietly removed a tagline from all of Meek’s work that read: “Editor’s Note: ABC News investigative reporter James Gordon Meek is the recipient of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation’s 2022 World Press Freedom Award for reporting on hostage cases since 1993.” Meek was poised to receive the award during a May 2022 ceremony but never accepted the trophy because his apartment was raided by the FBI days earlier.

ABC News and Hulu declined comment.

On Sept. 29, Meek was sentenced to six years in federal prison in a Virginia courtroom after pleading guilty to exchanging illicit materials online, including a video showing the rape of an infant.

Ahead of his sentencing, the four-time Emmy nominee and one-time winner was facing up to 40 years in prison. But his attorneys argued for the mandatory minimum sentence of five years and submitted letters of support from various journalists including documentarian Andrew Fredericks and former Washington Post reporter Allan Lengel, according to court documents reviewed by Variety. (The Gold Star families depicted in “3212 Un-Redacted” did not make any plea for leniency on behalf of Meek.) Fredericks called Meek “a loving and dedicated father” who “will continue do all in his power to overcome whatever trauma had contributed to his crimes,” while Lengel insisted that his friend “was clearly remorseful.” Sources say at least one journalist was fired from his job for backing the tainted producer.

Meek’s trajectory from investigative star reporter to pariah also led to his name being removed from the Simon & Schuster book “Operation Pineapple Express: The Incredible Story of a Group of Americans Who Undertook One Last Mission and Honored a Promise in Afghanistan,” which he co-authored with Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret. In the months leading up to the FBI raid of his home, Meek had met with several top-tier production companies, including Brad Pitt’s Plan B and producers like Dana Brunetti about adapting the book. Basil Iwanyk (“Sicario”) landed the rights to the book, in which Meek initially played a key role in the narrative as the journalist who helped American-trained commandos escape Afghanistan amid the U.S. withdrawal in 2021. But that project is now dead even though the book — with Meek’s name scrubbed — became a New York Times bestseller.  

Meek isn’t the first journalist to be accused of pedophilia-related crimes. His case echoes that of Larry Matthews, a Peabody Award-winning NPR reporter whose Maryland home was raided by the FBI in 1996. The agents found sexually explicit images of pre-pubescent girls on his computer’s hard drive, and he was indicted the following year, becoming the first person to be convicted of accessing child pornography while working as a journalist, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Matthews was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. 

More than a decade later, David Malakoff resigned from NPR’s Science and Tech desk after being charged with possessing child pornography. A U.S. District Court judge ignored federal sentencing guidelines that recommended six to eight years in prison for his offense and instead opted for a sentence of probation, a fine, community service and that he register as a sex offender.

More recently, a former ABC producer landed in hot water over allegations involving underage victims. In December 2021, CNN fired producer John Griffin following his indictment by a federal grand jury in Vermont for attempting to lure minors as young as 9 into engaging in unlawful sexual activity. In June, he was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. It does not appear as though Meek, who joined ABC in May 2013, overlapped with Griffin, who left ABC for CNN in April 2013.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.