Arthur Kent settles suits over 'Charlie Wilson's War'
Constance Droganes, entertainment writer, CTV.ca
Published Friday, September 19, 2008 8:07AM EDT
Journalist Arthur Kent has reached a global settlement of his lawsuits against the makers of the feature film "Charlie Wilson's War."
"I am very pleased with the terms of the settlement," Kent announced today. Those terms, however, remain confidential.
Kent, 55, filed his suit against Universal Studios in April of 2008. Kent claimed that his intellectual property rights were violated because the filmmakers used footage in the movie from his 1986 reporting in Afghanistan without his consent.
The 2007 film, about covert U.S. dealings in Afghanistan, stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Kent's lawsuit sought an injunction against distributing the movie, among other provisions, in addition to unspecified damages.
As Kent said in a statement, "I brought these actions only to uphold the copyright protection of my work, my voice, and my archive, and to make clear that I do not endorse the account of historical events conveyed by the movie."
'Scud Stud' makes history
Born in Medicine Hat, Alta., Kent began reporting from Afghanistan in 1980. By 1986 the Carleton University graduate was reporting from the war-torn country for CBC, NBC News and The Observer newspaper based in London.
Dubbed the "Scud Stud" for his coolness under fire, Kent became an international celebrity while reporting live for NBC during the 1991 Gulf War. His dramatic nightly broadcasts were made from the top of the Dhahran International Hotel in Saudi Arabia.
The veteran war correspondent is not unfamiliar with big legal battles. From 1989 to 1992, Kent worked as the host of "Dateline NBC," but was fired after a contract dispute. Kent sued for breach of contract and settled with NBC in March 1994.
Under the terms of the agreement, NBC paid Kent an undisclosed amount and retracted prior statements about Kent and the dispute. Kent also won the right to publish testimony and evidence from the discovery phase of the suit in his book, "Risk and Redemption: Surviving The Network News Wars."
Kent returned to Canada to host the CBC's "Man Alive." He also established his own film company, Fast Forward Films, in Britain.
A host for many History Channel shows, Kent's most notable documentary, "Afghanistan: Captives of the Warlords," garnered great critical acclaim after PBS broadcasted it in June of 2001. Shot secretly using hidden cameras, the film shows life in Afghanistan under the repressive Taliban and contrasts it against life under the much more lenient Northern Alliance.
In March 2008, Kent lost a bid to become a provincial legislator in a Calgary riding in the Alberta election.
He now chronicles the Afghanistan conflict online at www.skyreporter.com. Kent launched Sky Reporter in 2007 as an outlet for new and archived documentaries and short films. The site features Kent's independent reportage and commentary direct from the field.