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Utah Man Files Lawsuit Against Netflix Over Portrayal in ‘The Program’ Defamation Suit

A Utah man, Narvin Lichfield, has taken legal action against Netflix and director Katherine Kubler, filing a defamation lawsuit in Utah’s U.S. District Court. The lawsuit stems from accusations made in the miniseries “The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping,” which Lichfield claims have tarnished his reputation by implying criminal behavior on his part.

The series, which garnered significant viewership within its first five days of streaming, delves into Kubler’s personal experiences at the Academy at Ivy Ridge, a program associated with the now-defunct Worldwide Association of Programs and Schools (WWASP). The WWASP, founded by Lichfield’s brother Robert in Utah during the 1980s, expanded globally before its dissolution in 2010 amidst allegations of severe abuse and mistreatment.

While Narvin Lichfield was involved in overseeing some of the WWASP programs, he asserts no direct involvement with the Academy at Ivy Ridge. The documentary not only sheds light on accounts of abuse within Ivy Ridge but also explores the broader operations of WWASP and other programs associated with the Lichfield family.

Lichfield’s lawsuit contends that the Netflix production crossed the line into defamation, alleging that the series insinuated his involvement in criminal activities, including murder. He takes issue with his portrayal in the show, claiming that it presented him in a false light through misleading editing practices and misrepresented his role in the programs he supervised.

The lawsuit argues that the documentary’s focus on disgruntled former students of Ivy Ridge, who had no connection to programs under Lichfield’s supervision, painted an inaccurate and damaging picture of his involvement. Lichfield asserts that the show’s presentation of Kubler’s perspective as objective journalism further exacerbated the defamation he believes he has suffered.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the impact of the allegations made in “The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping” on Narvin Lichfield’s personal and professional life remains a subject of contention. The lawsuit represents a bid to address what Lichfield perceives as a significant and detrimental misrepresentation of his character and actions within the context of the documentary series.