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U.S. Added 146,000 Jobs in November; Woman Sued Over Online Review; White House Reacts to Unemployment Report; "Fifty Shades" Bonuses; Giving Undiscovered Artists a Shot

Aired December 07, 2012 - 09:30   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you very much for that.

There is opening bell right now.

And let's go now to Christine Romans to tell us about that new jobs report and the opening bell.

Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Investors look like they're happy, at least, that there were no negative surprises in this jobs report. In fact, the unemployment rate that fell to the lowest since 2008, 7.7 percent. So, we're expecting a higher open on stocks.

You'll notice here that the Dow -- the Dow is holding above 13,000. The Dow above 13,000, Don, when we're worried about the fiscal cliff, worried about Europe and worry about the slow healing in the American economy.

So, investors, at least for today, are pleased that this data are showing, continuing to show that the American economy, the recovery is moving, is moving ahead.

A hundred forty-six thousand jobs created in the month. That was twice what a survey of economists for CNN Money had expected, twice what they expected.

Why the discrepancy? Most economists were expecting hurricane Sandy to maybe hold back these numbers. And it just didn't. There are also a lot of revisions.

You know, one thing that's interesting about this is we still need to see superstorm Sandy impact, maybe it will show up next month. Who knows? The presidential election is over.

The Federal Reserve, by the way, will be watching to see what the Fed does in terms of monetary policy. We know it will keep interest rates very low. Will they have any stimulus up their sleeve?

All of these are things we're still looking forward to. Fiscal cliff is still hanging over us. But I'm going to tell you, Don, the markets, at least, are telling us that we think Washington will get its act together, fix the fiscal cliff, avert the fiscal cliff and they like what they see from the jobs report this morning.

LEMON: Oh, my goodness. That's optimism there.

Can you talk to me a little more about this job market shrinking and that maybe why the unemployment rate dropped?

ROMANS: So, there are two surveys that the government takes. They'd take a household survey where they call thousands and thousands of people at home and they ask them, are you working? And that's the number that gives us the unemployment rate.

And then they also talked to thousands and thousands of companies and they say, how many jobs do you have? How many jobs have you added? That's how you get that net job creation number up 146,000.

When you -- when the government calls people up and they say I'm not working or I've dropped out of the labor market or whatever, you can see just how big the labor market is. We know that there are some, I think, 300,000 some people who have dropped out of the labor market. They've either dropped out. I guess they could be retiring or they could drop out because they're a two income household and now they're a one income household.

They could drop out because they've been looking for so long and they didn't find any work. So, they now, they're not going to look anymore. Maybe, they decided to look next year.

So, there are a lot of different reasons why you can get people dropping out of the labor market, but many people critical of the job situation have said, if you -- if you were counting all of those people, you'd have a much higher unemployment rate than this.

And, you know, you've heard about the real unemployment rate, the underemployment rate, Don. That's more like 14.4 percent. It's higher than the headline, the listed price, if you will -- 14.4 percent. Those are people who have been left behind all together by the labor market -- Don.

LEMON: Christine Romans, thank you. I said we would get back to you for the kitchen sink and there it is.

ROMANS: There it is.

LEMON: Appreciate it. All right.

Photos sent from around the world are going into movies directed by big Hollywood names. We're going to sit down for an exclusive chat with Jamie Foxx.


LEMON: OK. You need to pay attention to this if you write reviews on any site or send comments. A contractor sued a woman for writing a scathing review on Yelp and Angie's List about his work. Now, a judge has narrowly sided with the contractor, Chris Dietz. Here are some of Jane Perez's complaints and comments. She says she was billed for this new carpet that has a stain on it and the painting was sloppy. You can see some on her brick fireplace there. Door hinges that are shoddy and barely holding up and she claims supposedly new seal is needed to be replaced.

Now, Dietz is suing her for Internet defamation for $750,000, claiming he's lost thousands of dollars in businesses because of her review.

So, joining us now from Washington is Chris Dietz, the founder of Dietz Development, and his attorney, Milt Johns, as well.

Good morning to you.



LEMON: OK. Listen, we want to tell our audience, that we also invited Jane Perez, who did not respond to our requests.

So, Chris, do you think this is a big win for you?

DIETZ: Well, I think it's the beginning of an important win. Let me clear something up quickly. Those posted you pictures, the carpet with the stain, that's the original carpet.

I never was allowed to install the correct carpet. She fired me before I got to install it. But it had already been purchased so I couldn't install it.

LEMON: OK. Again, she's not here to defend herself. She did not respond to our request.

DIETZ: Sure.

LEMON: But we got a statement from Perez's attorney saying she would abide by the judge's order as this. We got this as well. "Lawsuits of this nature can have a chilling effect on free speech, since their intent is to use a lawsuit and the prospect of expensive legal fees to intimidate customers who have had bad experiences, from sharing those experiences with others."

So, Chris, does this lawsuit hurt your business more since customers are afraid that you might sue them if they complain?

DIETZ: I hope not. I'm standing up for what's right. The truth needs to be told.

She accused me of criminal activity, of false statements, presenting them as facts with no basis for it.

JOHNS: I would just add that this --

LEMON: Go ahead. JOHNS: -- this isn't about free speech. I mean, defamation has never been protected speech in the history of the United States. And this isn't about the ability to give a review, something that's a statement of opinion.

It's when statements of facts are made and those facts are untruthful and they damage someone's reputation, damage someone's business, that there has to be some accommodation, there has to be some making right of the situation.

LEMON: Can I ask you this? Then there is no concern here, Mr. Johns, that you're setting some sort of precedence when it comes to free speech and people posting things online? Because the Internet is fairly open. You can pretty much say what you want about anything or anybody, and get away with it.

JOHNS: Well, there's -- I think there's a notion that there's an Internet privilege for defamation and it just doesn't exist. And I don't think it's not fair.

Just because someone is posting something on the Internet doesn't give them the right to make untruthful statements that could ruin someone's business or their professional reputation.

So, I think this is in many ways this is a garden variety defamation suit but it's in a new forum and that's Internet online posting.

LEMON: Chris --

DIETZ: Don, let me point out one thing real quickly. Also, too, we need to hold these service providers accountable, Angie's List and Yelp. They cannot claim they're using the 230 CDA as protection.

They need to be held accountable. And if that means new legislation, regulation, that needs to take place.

LEMON: You felt that this was your only recourse? You didn't think you could go back on the site and explain? You didn't think that was enough?

DIETZ: Don, thanks for that question. No -- no. I actually -- when she didn't pay me, I sent on the original invoice for work performed, services provided. She went out there and continued to defame me and claim me as a criminal.

I tried to get the post removed with legal documents from different sources, disproving her statements or claims and Yelp and Angie's List refused saying we're just a forum. We don't get through two parties.

The only way you can get these postings removed is by a court order or the poster removes it. That's when I took the action saying, OK, if I can't get it removed by presenting factual information to these service providers, then I have to take court action and there's no other option.

LEMON: I think you need to explain it. Claiming you were a criminal, there were some things she said you had done, like stolen things. The judge found that was unfounded. He made her remove it. So, there's nothing really to talk about on that end.

But thank you for coming on. Once this is finally resolved, we'd like to have you back. Thank you. OK, Chris --

JOHNS: We would love to be back and thank you for having us on this morning.

DIETZ: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: All right.

Let's bring CNN legal contributor Paul Callan who just handled the defamation lawsuit on Facebook about a bad date.

So, Paul, this case is different because the judge is ordering Perez to edit her review, right? Is that usual?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's highly usual. I mean, usually, you have a judge copy editing, you know, a posting on Yelp.

But what the judge did here was, when they look at these lawsuits, the judge is looking at the suit saying there's a suit for defamation. She's accusing Dietz of criminal conduct. She said there was jewelry missing from my house when he left and I made a report to the police. However, she doesn't say I saw him steal my jewelry. She doesn't provide any other supporting evidence.

LEMON: And, again, and we have to say, the judge said that was unfounded. He made her remove that. And so, that's not even part of it anymore.

CALLAN: Well, it is part of it in the sense that that -- that, by the way, will continue in the defamation suit. What the judge did was he made her take that down off the Internet. But it's a big part of the lawsuit, because when you accuse somebody of criminal conduct, if it's not true, that's defamation and you can collect huge damages.


CALLAN: So the judge was concerned that even though he hadn't decided the lawsuit, the evidence was so thin on that part of it, he said take it down. He didn't say anything about the rest of the posting.


It's interesting. I wonder, I asked the attorney, Paul, about setting a precedent. As someone in the public eye and you read comments online, you know, 90 percent of them aren't true, you think, wow, there is no recourse. If someone wrote that from a legitimate news organization, things that weren't true, you would have recourse.

So, do you think this is going to change anything from even just commenting on people online, writing comments online? CALLAN: Well, I think we're seeing another information where technology has outstripped the law, because -- you know, in the past to get published in a newspaper, to get widespread distribution of your complaints against somebody, very hard. You got to get a newspaper to take you seriously. They have to have a big readership.

Now, you just go online. I was reading one account that said Yelp has as many as 83 million visitors to the sites.


CALLAN: So you can literally destroy a business by posting negative things about the business. And businesses -- it's tough on them. They have very little recourse.

There's the law, the CDA, Mr. Dietz was referring to that, the communications decency law, that protects Angie's List and Yelp from being sued. They can say, hey, we're just a forum. If people want to post, they can post.

So, the only thing a business can do is sue, saying you defamed me and I'm going to sue you for money damages. But suits like this, that's going to scare people from posting on the Internet and we'll have less free speech and we're going to have less exchange of ideas and people kind of like the fact that you can go on the Internet and check people out.

So, you know, this is an evolving area of the law. I think you'll see the courts make changes in this area about how we handle defamation, libel and slander.

LEMON: I think, you know, people like that, I think when you're the subject of it, I don't think everyone likes it. I think people are looking at people who are anonymous on the Internet may say, hey, this is great. It's freedom of speech. But people who are the subject of it not so much, Paul.

CALLAN: Well, you know, Don, you're on to something there because the anonymity is the most frightening part. A lot of the postings are anonymous. This was not an anonymous posting.

So, at least Dietz has a remedy. He can go after Perez. And, by the way, Perez is not here to defend herself but she may have a legitimate complaint about the quality of the work. I mean, we don't know. It hasn't been decided in court yet.

LEMON: All right, Paul.

CALLAN: We know the judge sided with Dietz on the criminal stuff. But, Don, it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

LEMON: We have to move on. We did invite her. She didn't respond. She could be here to defend herself.


LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

CALLAN: Nice to be with you, Don.

LEMON: You as well. "Fifty Shades of Grey"? More like fifty shades of green. The sexy book that took the literary world by storm is paying out handsomely for Random House staffers.


LEMON: We are getting reaction from the White House to today's jobs report. The unemployment rate dropping to 7.7 percent as 146,000 jobs were added last month. The White House released a statement which read, in part -- here it is -- "While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the great depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December of 2007."

There is some good financial news for some workers at Random House as well, speaking of the jobs market. But before we go to that and before we talk about that, let's go to Alison Kosik. Alison, give us a quick check on the markets and we'll talk about Random House.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're seeing some modest games with the markets is because the way the markets sees this Don as the reality check behind this job reports. Now a lot of these jobs that were added were seasonal, these were jobs in retail and travel and leisure.

So the real question is going to be how many of those people are going to go back on the unemployment line after the holidays are over. And guess what, the answer is going to depend on how the fiscal cliff is resolved or not resolved. And you may see that uncertainty limit the gains today on Wall Street -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Now let's talk about that "Fifty Shades of Grey"." Because some workers at Random House are very happy today as the White House is happy about the numbers. They're happy about "Fifty Shades of Grey".

KOSIK: Sure S&M was like or at least reading about S&M, we can be a pretty good stocking stuffer, it's what "The New York Times" Don is calling 5,000 shades of green for Random House employees. The "Times" is reporting that Random House had this holiday party, Random House of course being the publisher. Had this party the other night, workers learned they're going to be getting a $5,000 bonus to celebrate a profitable year and they owe it all to "Fifty Shades of Grey".

Of course the saucy book, it's topped "The New York Times" bestseller list for almost ten months now. And with the first book in the series selling more than 35 million copies. The trilogy has even been on eBook bestseller lists even longer. The "Times" says that the cheering, when they heard about this bonus, it went on for minutes. It's expected to be paid out in the next check to those who have been at Random House for a year or more. Who would have thought whips and chains, Don it would have been such big business.

LEMON: Well, a lot of people knew that a long time ago. Thank you.

KOSIK: Thank you.

LEMON: Alison Kosik, I appreciate it.

Photos sent from around the world are going into movies directed by big Hollywood names. We sit down for an exclusive chat with Jamie Foxx.


LEMON: Want a shot at Hollywood fame? Canon's Project Imagination could be your ticket. The camera company is soliciting photos to be the source for movies and hiring big names like Jamie Foxx to direct.

CNN's Kareen Wynter sat down for an exclusive chat with Jamie Foxx.


JAMIE FOX, CELEBRITY DIRECTOR, "PROJECT IMAGINATION": Hi. This is Jamie Foxx. And I'm one of the directors for Project Imagination.

We get the call saying from Ron Howard wants to involve celebrities of taking photos from people that send it from all over the world and then doing a movie. Directing a movie to it.

I've always wanted to be behind the cameras. So now this is giving me an opportunity to really you know flex that muscle and now with the tutelage of Ron Howard and having Canon backing, you know, I just don't want to mess it up but I think it's going to be fantastic. And plus, Ron Howard and I have a little bit of a history.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: A little bit of a history. And that little cameo.

FOXX: Yes, yes.

I said, man would you be in this video? And he came in and he said what is it? I said, once you get there I will explain it all because I didn't want to tell him he's blaming it on the alcohol.

WYNTER: You are trying to move this forward this whole idea of filmmaking by involving the public.

FOX: When I was in Texas, I didn't know where to go with all of my creativity. But now with what Canon is doing, people from Missouri and people from North Carolina, they are sitting there but they can now be a part of Hollywood.

WYNTER: This is groundbreaking because this for the first time will be part of the festival.

FOXX: Having the festival part of it really makes it an event. You know, now people can come and now people can watch. We will do five films and then the next part of it is where the consumers will actually be able to go through what we are going through.

Who doesn't want to be married? This is the genesis of something great. And who knows? You will find the next Martin Scorsese, the next Antoine Fuqua. A lot of times Hollywood looks like it is -- you know, bubbled out. 25 years ago it was like how do I get in there? Now, you know, you open it up and maybe one day you will find someone who is fantastic and they will take what we have as an artist and leave it back for them to grow on.

WYNTER: What does this picture tell us?

FOXX: It's unparalleled, discovery. Jennifer Harris.

New Orleans, 504, Hey, baby.

Basically what that is, he's head over heels for her. So, therefore, I will find my perfect woman. That's how it all comes together.

The first picture I saw was this one. Everything is magic. This is for character. Nicole Matthews, Rocky River, Ohio in the building. So -- the reason I like this picture is because I actually see the person that's not there. Now all of our pictures start to make sense with each other.

WYNTER: What do you say to those that are going to be watching this piece and inspired in some way?

FOXX: I think the impact will be big to know that just somewhere in the world you snapped a Canon send to it in to me. Next thing you know we are off to the race.


LEMON: My favorite entertainment correspondent Kareen Wynter joins me now from L.A.

WYNTER: Thank you Don.

LEMON: Kareen, Ron Howard's daughter was involved with last year's Project Imagination. Tell us about her film.

WYNTER: Well, you know, it is getting a whole lot of buzz, Don. The film is called "When You Find Me". And it's actually on the short list of possible Oscar nominees in the live action short films category. That's huge.

The film -- it deals with a tragedy. It is about the story of two sisters whose lives are changed forever after the sudden loss of their mother. So we will have to see if it gets an academy award nomination. They're announced next month.

But it's really interesting Don, to watch the early stages of this father-daughter directing duo. Jamie Foxx, he's really throwing his director's hat in the ring. He told me one of his biggest fears is getting it right behind the camera. We all know how big a talent he is in front of the camera. So we'll have to see how far this takes him -- Don.

LEMON: America's entertainment correspondent Kareen Wynter. Thank you.

WYNTER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM continues right after a quick break.