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Complaint cites confusion caused by false claims made in fraudulent email messages

Variety Media has filed suit against unnamed email imposters who have been impersonating columnist and editor-at-large Peter Bart, giving false statements to the media and making unauthorized purchase orders to vendors.

The defendants created a website, http://www.peterbartproductions.com, and an e-mail attached to it, claiming to be Bart, who also is a plaintiff in the suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Variety Media claims violation of California business and professional code. It seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction to halt the actions of the site. The suit states that the defendants names will be disclosed when they can be ascertained.

“Defendants’ conduct constituted a credible impersonation in that it actually confused Variety‘s vendors, among others,” the suit stated. “Further, Defendants have admitted that they intended their conduct described above to cause harm to Plaintiffs.”

In one e-mail sent widely to top industry execs, the Bart imposter claims to be speaking on behalf of Variety and invites recipients to attend a press conference. There is no such event scheduled.

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