MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A lawsuit brought by the estate of the Alabama man at the center of the popular “S-Town“ podcast is moving forward against the creators of the show.
U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler refused to dismiss the civil lawsuit that claims podcast creators exploited John B. McLemore’s life and image for financial gain.
Coogler wrote in a court order that the podcast itself is likely protected as a work of artistic expression but said he “cannot conclusively determine“ if creators can’t be sued over the use of McLemore’s identity to promote products and advertisements.
“S-Town“ tells the story of McLemore, an antique clock restorer from Woodstock, Alabama, who killed himself in 2015.
McLemore in 2012 sent an email to producers of “This American Life“ asking for help in a murder investigation. The resulting 2017 podcast focused heavily on McLemore and included the description on its website as an “unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.“
The podcast included details of his sexual orientation, mental state and other aspects of his life.
McLemore’s estate filed the lawsuit last year, claiming that the show’s creators exploited the details of his private life for financial gain.