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Cayuga Nation files lawsuit against Showtime TV network

The Seneca Falls-based Cayuga Nation is suing a cable television network, along with the people behind one of its hit series.

The Barclay Damon law firm of Buffalo filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court of New York County. It alleges that the Cayuga Nation and its federally recognized leader, Clint Halftown, were defamed during an episode of “Billions” that first aired May 5.

Showtime Networks Inc. is named as a defendant, as are Brian Koppelman, Andrew Ross Sorkin and David Levien, the creator, producer and writers of the series. An unspecified amount of monetary damages is being sought.

The suit claims the show used the Cayugas’ and Halftown’s names “and in a deliberate and intentional way, went to an offensive stereotype of Native Americans as irresponsible, corruptible and even criminal, thereby exposing the Cayuga Nation and Mr. Halftown to public contempt, aversion and disgrace.” The complaint alleges the episode portrayed the Halftown character as engaging in a conversation with “Billions” main characters Chuck Rhoades and his father, Chuck Rhoades Sr., during which an illegal casino land deal was discussed and a public official was bribed.

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