Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Food Lion, a Southeastern supermarket chain, is suing ABC’s Primetime Live for fraud, claiming that producer Lynne Litt got a job at one of its North Carolina stores to do an investigative piece — and then fabricated her story.
According to Food Lion’s vice president Vince Watkins, Primetime will claim, in an as yet unscheduled program, that the store makes its nonunion employees work such long hours that they’re too exhausted to follow standard sanitation procedures. But it was Litt herself, Watkins maintains, who created unsanitary conditions for the cameras by leaving meat scraps and bone dust on the meat-cutting-room floor. ”We feel that ABC went beyond reporting the news and actually made news,” Watkins says. ”They went in to get people to help them concoct a story.”
Neither Litt nor anyone else from ABC News will comment, though a spokeswoman confirms that Primetime is working on a story about Food Lion. But Al Zack, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union — which, Food Lion claims, fed the story to Primetime — says the suit is an intimidation tactic: ”Primetime requested our help in contacting current and former disgruntled employees, and that’s the extent of our involvement. Food Lion is violating the wage laws of this country. It’s a legitimate news story.”