The parents of two of Kendrick Johnson’s classmates, who were accused of being involved in the murder, have filed a lawsuit against Ebony magazine. Johnson is the Georgia teen whose body was found rolled up in a standing gym mat in the Lowndes High School gym.
According to the parents, Brian and Branden Bell, sons of a Valdosta FBI agent, were portrayed falsely as Chris and Clark Martin in the articles published on Ebony.com written by journalist Frederic Rosen.
Brian and Branden’s parents, Rick and Karen Bell, filed a civil libel and slander complaint in the U.S. District Court in Brunswick. The court documents claims between Aug. 12, 2013 and April 9, 2014 there were a series of articles published in the print and digital editions of Ebony magazine, which contain libelous statements against their sons. In addition, the Bells said their sons have become victims to threats via social media and was ostracized by their peers as a result.
Though fictitious surnames were used, the Bells firmly believe “students, teachers and coaches were well-aware of the references” being made.
The documents also state the Bells demanded a retraction and written response, but Ebony only removed some of the articles from its digital edition and refused to publish a written retraction.
Ebony has not released a response to the lawsuit.