Pulitzer Prize Winner Sued by Ex-Marine For Calling Him a Drunk

Security contractor takes exception to being characterized as a boozer with indifference to human life

Last Updated: October 19, 2011 @ 8:04 PM

One former Marine is fighting — OK, suing — mad over the way he's been portrayed in the media.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru is being sued by a former Marine turned private security firm staffer in Iraq, claiming that Fainaru made untrue and totally mean claims about him in his book "Big Boys Rule: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq."

Read the full lawsuit here.

In the suit, Jacob Washbourne — who transitioned from the Marines to Triple Canopy, a private security firm providing services in Iraq — claims that he's painted as a psycho, an incompetent and a drunk in the book.

Among the characterizations in the book that Washbourne takes exception to: That he "had a callous and indifferent attitude toward killing people," that he "arbitrarily discharged firearms at Iraqi civilians without adequately assessing whether such individuals were an actual safety threat," and that he routinely missed briefings he was supposed to conduct because he was "sleeping off the previous night's binge."

Perhaps worst of all? The claim that Washbourne "had a 'head banger persona' that he carried out on the streets of Iraq."

Washbourne, who also names publishers Da Capo Press and The Perseus Books Group in the suit, claims that the statements are false and have "negatively affected plaintiff's professional and personal reputation."

He also says that Fainaru and his publishers made unauthorized use of his image to promote the book.

The suit, which claims defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, is seeking actual and punitive damages of $75,000, plus interest and attorney's fees.

Da Capo Press did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.