As if Conde Nast didn't have enough to worry about: the New Guinea tribesmen suing the New Yorker for defamation now want a cool $45 million. Beware, reporters: Even your cab driver is lawyered up these days.
The lawsuit centers on a story Jared Diamond wrote last year about tribal wars in New Guinea. Forbes reports that the plaintiffs in this suit include Daniel Wemp—Diamond's "chief source" for the story. Wemp says he's not as murderous as the world's most famous anthropologist would have you believe.
Diamond's account says 30 people lost their lives during a three-year clan war that began after a pig ransacked someone's garden. Mandingo and Wemp, who served as Diamond's driver on a trip to Papua New Guinea, say only four people died, the war lasted three months and the conflict didn't start over a pig in a garden, but an argument over a card game.
And he's still upset about being called a pig thief! The New Yorker's sticking by its story. If anything good comes of this, it'll be to make reporters stop using their drivers as their main sources. You listening, Tom Friedman? Stop it.
[Stinky Journalism also has numerous debunker pieces on Diamond's story. Pic of random New Guinea resident via Flickr.]