Blake Wins Defamation Lawsuit, Faces Separate Suit From L.A. Church
Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, emerged victorious in his defamation lawsuit against the Rev. Earl Carter, who mounted a yearlong campaign attacking Blake’s character, sexuality and handling of church funds.
In an order signed last week by Judge Roy B. Dalton of the Middle District Court in Orlando, Florida, judgment was ruled in favor of Blake, who filed an injunction to remove all of Carter’s defamatory videos, tweets, posts and oral commentary from all published mediums, including Youtube.
“We anticipate that the federal court in Orlando will shortly be issuing a final and formal permanent injunction that will require the take-down of all of Earl Carter’s defamatory Internet videos, and will perpetually prevent Mr. Carter from repeating any of the outrageously false, utterly baseless and despicable claims he has made about Bishop Blake,” said Uleses Henderson, general counsel of the Church of God in Christ.
Also, Carter had filed a counterclaim alleging that he was financially harmed by Blake’s denunciation of Carter’s speech at the COGIC Holy Convocation in 2014. Carter’s counterclaim was permanently dismissed with the court finding that Carter, “violated the Show Cause Order by failing to present evidence of his financial condition through a sworn Long-Form Affidavit of Indigency.”
$3 Million Awarded in Rolling Stone UV Rape Defamation Case
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – A federal jury has awarded $3 million to a University of Virginia administrator who they concluded was defamed by a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article about a gang rape at a fraternity house.
Nicole Eramo claimed the 2014 article “A Rape on Campus” portrayed her as a villain who sought only to protect the university. Eramo had sued for $7.5 million.
The jury concluded Friday that the magazine, its publisher and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely were responsible for libel, with actual malice.
Eramo testified Monday that she was distraught by the article in the days after its publication and “just wanted to disappear.” Rolling Stone’s attorneys sought to show jurors that her reputation was not badly damaged by the piece.
This story has been corrected in the headline to show that Nicole Eramo is now an administrator, not a dean.
Trump’s closing argument faces allegations of anti-Semitism
In a year filled with cringe-worthy moments, among the most memorable came just a few weeks ago, when Donald Trump traveled to West Palm Beach to share the latest in a series of conspiracy theories.
“The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” the Republican insisted, reading a prepared text from a teleprompter. “We’ve seen this first hand in the WikiLeaks documents, in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors.”
It was the kind of speech that seemed designed for the joke, “It sounded better in the original German.”
With this in mind, consider Slate’s report on the Trump campaign’s new closing-argument ad, which was unveiled over the weekend.
Donald Trump has released what seems like the closing-argument ad of his campaign, and several people are pointing out that the whole thing has rather troubling anti-Semitic overtones by at the very least implying that it’s prominent Jews who control the “levers of power.”
The two-minute–long ad uses audio from a speech Trump gave last month in West Palm Beach that was harshly criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for “rhetoric and tropes that historically have been used against Jews and still spur antisemitism.” The speech is interspersed with photos of powerful people. Besides Hillary and Bill Clinton and President Obama, the other three readily identifiable people in the video are all Jews: financier George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Rolling Stone Defamation Conviction Reveals Danger of Dogma When Addressing Campus Sexual Assault
Former University of Virginia associate dean Nicole P. Eramo won her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine, and the implications are significant. Successful defamation suits are rare in the U.S., in large part to protect the freedom of speech and press. I think, however, the jury verdict was correct in this case. Indeed, the verdict highlights the problem of what happens when an enormously complicated problem is shoeboxed into a simple storyline informed more by dogma than evidence.
In short, Rolling Stone published a story using the point of view of a woman who claimed she was gang raped at a UVA fraternity. The story began to fall apart rather rapidly as other journalists began investigating many of the victim’s claims, many of which appeared extreme on their face. The staff journalist failed to conduct her due diligence in verifying the truth of the victim’s claims, and criticized UVA administrators for failing to respond.
Eramo was featured prominently in the article and, in the narrative, became the face of university intransigence, denial, and insensitivity. Eramo sued, and the jury found that the journalist and magazine, in the words of the New York Times (Nov 4, 2016), “acted with actual malice, a legal standard that means that the publication either knew the information published was false, or acted with reckless disregard for whether it was true or not.” I believe in this case the magazine acted in reckless disregard for the truth in order to fit an internal narrative supported by the magazine’s organizational culture.
Rolling Stone eventually retracted the article, but only after other journalists made it almost impossible for the editors to support the story (and its narrative) based on the facts. The idea that a gang rape could occur in a fraternity without consequence had become so embedded in the journalistic world view of the magazine that researching the veracity of the claims by the victim was given low priority, even to the point where inconsistencies and holes in the story didn’t have to be investigated.
Erdely continues testifying in defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone
Sabrina Erdely is back on the stand, talking about her retracted article, which is at the center of a defamation lawsuit filed by a former University of Virginia dean.
Friday is day five in the trial against Rolling Stone for the article “A Rape on Campus,” in which a woman known only as Jackie claimed she was gang raped by a several men at a fraternity party.
The jury listened to a recording of a conversation between Erdely and Jackie that was recorded in September of 2014, two months before the article was published.
Erdely’s attorney is using the tape in an effort to show that Jackie was convincing in her story of a sexual assault and to help explain how Erdely believed her.
In the recording, Jackie sounds upbeat and energetic, but she describes her depression and struggle after the alleged assault, including saying she gained weight, stopped going out and getting into an emotionally abusive relationship.
Jackie is also heard telling Erdely about a tattoo she got to memorialize the assault and her ability to overcome it.
“Did it ever occur to you that a human being would get a tattoo on their body to commemorate something that never happened,” asked Erdely’s attorney.
“Never,” Erdely replied.
The attorney repeatedly stopped the tape to point out the great detail that Jackie used when describing people and events.
She is also heard talking about two other women that were allegedly raped at the same fraternity, going so far as to describe one of these women in great detail even though Erdely’s attorney says the woman may not exist.
Stevie J Sues Joseline Hernandez For Defamation
Stevie J and Joseline Hernandez’ relationship has hit yet another rocky patch as the New York MC is taking his ex to court and suing her for defamation, TMZ reports.
The Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star is saying that Hernandez made false statements about him to the public and in a report to Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Service claiming he sexually abused his daughter he shares with Mimi Faust. In the allegations, he says she called him a gay man and a devil-worshipper. She also tweeted about the reported molestation. Faust sided with her baby daddy and denied Hernandez’ claims. Stevie obtained a temporary restraining order against Hernandez in the midst of it all.
Stevie and Hernandez were supposedly married in August of 2013, but Stevie revealed on the VH1 program that the couple never officially said “I Do.” And court documents show that Hernandez actually married another man in 1997.
Then there was the baby drama after she revealed this summer that she was pregnant and claimed Stevie was the father, which he has denied.
City Manager files defamation complaint in 7th District Court
Moab City Manager Rebecca Davidson, Tara Smelt and Tayo, Inc., have filed a lawsuit against five people alleging defamation of character, intentional emotional distress, and intentional interference with the economic relationships of Smelt and information technology and communications company Tayo, Inc., of which Smelt is a co-founder. The civil complaint — filed Sept. 16 in Moab’s 7th District Court — alleges that Moab residents Chris Baird, Annie Tueller Payne and Janet Buckingham, as well as Connie McMillan of Kemmerer, Wyoming, and former Moab resident Jim Stiles and his online alternative news blog the Canyon Country Zephyr made “false and defamatory” statements against Davidson, Smelt and Tayo, Inc. The plaintiffs are seeking “foreseeable consequential and punitive damages, in an amount to be determined at [a jury] trial,” according to the complaint.
“In the [city manager] position I know how to let stuff roll off me and I do that pretty well,” Davidson told The Times-Independent. “ … It’s been over a year of this going on. And it seems like every time somebody takes a breath, there’s another group coming out saying other things that aren’t factual. And it’s time to stop.”
The complaint alleges that Davidson and Smelt have been personally damaged, including personal humiliation and damages to their reputations and standing in the community, due to statements and online posts made by the five individuals named in the lawsuit. The complaint alleges that damages to Tayo, Inc. include the inability to obtain employment with Moab city and other potential clients.
When contacted Sept. 20 by The Times-Independent, Stiles, Buckingham and Payne each said they were unaware of the lawsuit and had not been notified that it was filed in court. All three declined to comment on the issue at that time.
Sean Hannity Threatens to Sue CNN for ‘Slander’
Fox News host Sean Hannity has threatened to sue media outlet CNN for negatively covering him, according to The Blaze.
“I would love to sue them for slander when they say, ‘Oh, he wants Hillary [Clinton] on her deathbed and dead,’ when I said just the opposite,” Hannity said on his radio show Thursday. “I know it’s hard to sue when you’re a public figure, pretty much people can call you anything, and I’ve been called pretty much everything. But I’m thinking of suing them. Maybe I’ll get David Boies, my buddy, to do it,” he said.
Hannity’s comments come in the wake of remarks made by CNN’s Brian Stelter to PBS’ “Charlie Rose,” on Wednesday. Stelter called out the conservative media for “floating rumors” on Hillary Clinton’s health.
“These are people who bring up rumors and innuendo about Clinton’s health, and have been doing it for years,” Stelter said, pointing to Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones.
“I’m not saying Hannity or Limbaugh fit into these necessarily, but some of these figures want her to be sick. They want her to be dying. They want her to be on her death bed.”
This isn’t the first time Stelter has gone after the Fox host. Earlier this summer, Stelter accused the staunch Donald Trump supporter of peddling conspiracy theories about the Democratic presidential nominee.
In another instance, Stelter went after Hannity, saying the conservative talker “is not a journalist.”
“Last time I checked, Fox still has the word ‘news’ in its name,” Stelter said. Hannity immediately responded by calling Stelter a “little pipsqueak” whose show, “Reliable Sources,” is “sort of like the Media Matters show.”
Hannity was also sharply critical of Stelter and CNN’s Trump coverage on a summer appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
Quake-hit Italian town sues Charlie Hebdo for ‘defamation’
Rome: The Italian town of Amatrice, hit by a deadly earthquake last month, is pursuing legal action against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for defamation over a series of cartoons about the tragedy.
An earthquake last month killed at least 292 people in Amatrice, home to a famous tomato sauce “amatriciana”. The complaint was based on cartoons published by the magazine after the quake.
One cartoon, titled “Earthquake, Italian Style”, depicted quake victims as sauce-splattered survivors, and layers of Lasagna with blood and feet emerging from it. (right top)
The cartoon immediately sparked outcry among Italians and prompted the French embassy in Rome to issue a statement saying the drawing “in no way represents France’s position”.
The publication then replied with a follow-up toon suggesting the mafia was to blame, saying, “it’s not Charlie Hebdo who built your homes, it’s the mafia!” (right bottom)
Former Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien loses defamation case against ABC
Former Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien has lost a defamation case against the ABC over a Media Watch broadcast criticising her articles on the alleged discovery of toxic substances near a playground in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
O’Brien took legal action against the ABC in 2013 after Media Watch criticised two articles she wrote for the Sun-Herald about the alleged discovery of toxic substances “well above” health limits near the Orica industrial site in Hillsdale in Sydney.
Host Paul Barry alleged in the July 2013 broadcast that “the central claims of Natalie O’Brien’s story are just wrong” and took aim at two commercial TV outlets for picking up the reports.
In a judgment delivered on Thursday, Justice Lucy McCallum found for the ABC on the basis the broadcast was defensible as fair comment on a matter of public interest or honest opinion.
She said the broadcast provided “a textbook illustration of the operation of the defence of fair comment”.
“The tone of the programme is the tone of critique,” Justice McCallum said.
“With great respect to Mr Barry, his manner of presentation is, dare I say, opinionated.”
Justice McCallum said she was “persuaded to the unhappy conclusion” that O’Brien had acted irresponsibly in failing to consult independent and qualified experts before making the claims in the reports.
“I reach that conclusion with some regret because I have little doubt that Ms O’Brien believed she was being given reliable information by a person experienced in this field,” Justice McCallum said.