Should Lance Armstrong fans get a refund? 

Updated: 

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong sealed his fate as an international symbol of lying and cheating when he poured his heart out to Oprah Winfrey. He may have thought he could garner a little sympathy for his honesty, but it may have been too much to expect.

Now angry fans are getting together to demand a refund for the money spent on his autobiographies.


The case

He has written two autobiographies: It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life and Every Second Counts. Now, the BBC has reported that readers are asking for their money back.

They have a point. The books are the story of a triumph of sporting prowess over adversity. It is about the scientific developments of his team, and the huge personal physical achievements of Armstrong himself. Of course, now we all know that these things were working hand-in-hand with illegal doping - which kind of takes the shine off his achievements.

Two Americans, political consultant Rob Stutzman and chef Jonathan Wheeler, have filed class-action lawsuits against Armstrong and the publishers, Penguin and Random House, on behalf of themselves and other residents of California who bought the book. They are demanding refunds and other costs.

It's hard to know what is likely to happen next. The case could dismissed, it could be heard, or the publishers could decide to find a way to avoid the publicity and settle out of court.

Either way it is another legal disaster to befall Armstrong, who is already facing legal action from The Sunday Times (which settled with Armstrong out of court after articles questioned his integrity). He is also battling a promoter over the bonuses he received for winning the Tour de France, and the International Cycling Union, which wants its prize money back.

For Armstrong it's likely he will literally be paying the price for his duplicity for decades to come.

Sued by fans

However, he is not the only celebrity to have been sued by his fans.

Joan Rovers famously won a case against a fan who appeared in a 2010 documentary. The fan had approached her after a gig and talked about a heckler. When the documentary appeared and included her appearance she sued Rivers. The case was dismissed - on the grounds that approaching a celebrity in a public place while she is being filmed should have given the woman a clue her conversation wasn't entirely private.

LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant ended up settling his case with a fan, after he crashed into Bill Geeslin, who was sitting courtside at a match in 2005. Bryant was diving for a loose ball, and Geeslin said that he had deliberately forearmed him in the chest. Geeslin actually died in 2007, but his mother continued the case, and it was settled out of court last year.

At the end of last year The Trade Union of Russian Citizens tried to sue Madonna for a pro-gay-rights speech at a concert - which it claimed had traumatised young fans. They claimed she had exposed young people to 'homosexual propaganda' and was asking for more than $10 million in compensation. The case was thrown out of court.

It seems that some fans love their celebrities - but not necessarily as much as they love the promise of a legal payout.

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