CALIFORNIA — Two California men have sued Lance Armstrong and his book publishers for fraud and false advertising, claiming that the cyclist’s best-selling memoirs, billed as non-fiction, were revealed to be filled with lies after he confessed last week to systematic doping.
The class-action complaint was filed in federal court in Sacramento, California on Tuesday, five days after Armstrong ended years of vehement denial and admitted in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had cheated his way to a record seven Tour de France titles through the use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs.
The named plaintiffs in the suit were Rob Stutzman, a public relations executive, who served as a deputy chief of staff for former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jonathan Wheeler, a chef and amateur cyclist.
They said they bought the books It’s Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts because they believed in Armstrong and his story of returning without drug assistance to the Tour de France after a nearly fatal bout with testicular cancer. Following Armstrong’s doping confession, however, Stutzman and Wheeler said they felt “duped”, “cheated” and “betrayed” by the realisation that the books, marketed as inspirational true-life memoirs, were replete with fabrications.
Their lawsuit accuses Armstrong and his publishers, Penguin and Random House, of violating consumer protection laws on false advertising and fraud by selling the books as works of non-fiction.