Elisabeth Hasselbeck Dismisses Plagiarism Claim

The View co-host calls the accusation against her book "without merit"

Photo: Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic

No worries, says Elisabeth Hasselbeck – who took a brief moment during Wednesday’s The View to comment on the copyright infringement charge against her by a Massachusetts author.

“I just want to assure you the allegations are without merit and are being handled appropriately,” said Hasselbeck, 32, who has spoken openly about her self-diagnosed celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder linked to gluten proteins in wheat, barley and rye.

Hasselbeck’s book, The G Free Diet-A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, was published in May 2009 by Center Street Hachette Book Group. Crying foul, and seeking $3 million, is Susan Hassett, who claims that in 2008 she had sent Hasselbeck a copy of her own book – the self-published Living with Celiac Disease – along with a homemade cooking video, a newspaper story about celiac disease, her business card and a personal note.

The message expressed Hassett’s hope that Hasselbeck was well and noted that the TV personality was lucky to catch her celiac disease early. Hassett also offered to discuss her book with Hasselbeck in order to spread the word about celiac disease to her viewers. In return, she never received so much as a thank you, says Hassett.

Instead, Hassett claims Hasselbeck infringed on Hassett’s copyright by stealing her material “word for word” and copying the format of her book. In her lawsuit, filed Monday in Boston federal court, Hassett says she will donate a portion of whatever proceeds she receives from the suit to create a camp designed for children with celiac disease.

On Tuesday, a statement released on behalf of Center Street and Hasselbeck, said, in part, “There is no basis for the allegations in the Complaint as published in the press. Ms. Hasselbeck worked diligently and tirelessly on her book and is disappointed in this attempt to discredit her work and her ability to bring this important message to the public.”

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