Pepperdine Drops Libel Suit and Malibu Blogger Seeks Media Help with 'Retraction'
• Videographer Acknowledges Posted Material Was 'Inaccurate'
BY ANNE SOBLE
Pepperdine University has agreed to drop a libel lawsuit filed last month against Malibu resident and videographer Cary ONeal for videos he posted on the Internet attributing contaminated stormwater runoff at Marie Canyon to campus facilities.
For his part, ONeal has distributed a written retraction to all of the local media and requested that it be acknowledged to help close the matter.
ONeal, whose online moniker is Mr. Malibu, posted a video with film of allegedly polluted stormwater runoff that the blogger claimed was coming from the Los Angeles County sewage treatment plant used by Pepperdine.
Once alerted, university officials reacted swiftly, first to seek a cease and desist order demanding that ONeal remove the video and then to facilitate deletion of his social media posts that continued the same pollution allegations.
When ONeal posted a second video online listing the names of entertainers whose homes located throughout Malibu allegedly are in danger of contamination by Pepperdine, the university filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last month for libel and "invasion of privacy by placing person in false light in public eye."
In an email sent to the Malibu Surfside News dated April 27, ONeal included a "retraction" addressed "to whom it may concern." It read, "Please consider this letter a retraction of my statements. I acknowledge that these statements were inaccurate. Pepperdine does not operate the Malibu Mesa Water Reclamation Facility and does not discharge sewage or sewage effluent into Marie Canyon or any other location. Instead, Malibu Mesa is operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. I have been advised, and believe, that the county did not discharge sewage or sewage effluent from Malibu Mesa onto a Malibu beach on March 25, 2012. I have apologized to Pepperdine for any harm caused by my statements and I am grateful that Pepperdine has agreed to dismiss the lawsuit it filed against me."