(AP) A longtime Boston sportscaster has filed a libel suit against a cartoonist whose syndicated comic strip portrayed him as being drunk on the air.
Bob Lobel’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in Norfolk Superior Court, contends Darby Conley’s May 13 “Get Fuzzy” comic strip was “a smear.”
The strip, which revolves around a sarcastic cat, a goodhearted dog, and their bachelor owner, shows the characters watching TV.
The dog says, “Is this sportscaster … drunk?”
The owner replies, “Lobel? Who knows?”
After the owner and cat exchange words, the dog says, “Guys, guys! How can you fight while there’s a drunk guy on TV?”
Lobel’s attorney, Harry Manion, said Lobel hardly ever drinks, and his offbeat on-air style is often misinterpreted.
“He talks in a breezy way,” Manion said. “People can say, ‘Is he on something?’ The answer is, ‘No.’ You can sort of bandy it around a water cooler. That’s one thing, but to publish it in 450 newspapers? Here, Lobel said, ‘That’s enough.'”
Lobel was not speaking about the lawsuit, said his agent, Kenneth Fishkin.
Conley, who lives in the Boston suburb of Carlisle, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The suit also names United Feature Syndicate Inc., which distributes “Get Fuzzy,” and the New Bedford Standard-Times, one of 450 newspapers that run the strip.
A spokeswoman for the syndicate did not immediately return calls Friday. Standard-Times editor Bob Unger said the paper had not been served with the lawsuit and he had no comment.
Manion said he may add to the suit other papers that kept Lobel’s name in the strip. The Boston Globe substituted the word “Him” for “Lobel.”
“Get Fuzzy,” which debuted in 1999, was named the 2002 newspaper comic strip of the year by the National Cartoonists Society.