DeRay Mckesson has filed a lawsuit against Fox News and the cable news network’s Jeanine Pirro, with the social justice advocate accusing the Justice host of slandering him in September of this year.
“Pirro’s statements are untrue and further a narrative that I, and other activists, engage in violent protest,” said Mckesson — per the Baltimore Sun.
Mckesson, who describes Pirro’s comments as “false and defamatory statements,” is suing over particular remarks the host made while talking about a police officer’s defunct lawsuit against the civil rights activist due to his involvement in the 2016 Black Lives Matter Baton Rouge protests.
The case — which was filed by an anonymous cop who believed the group inspired violence against him — filed against Mckesson and other activists was thrown out as the judge ruled that Black Lives Matter is a movement and not entity that can be sued.
As for Pirro’s exact comments, she blamed Mckesson by name for “directing the violence” that occurred during the protests.
“In this particular case, DeRay Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence,” Pirro said while appearing Fox & Friends in September.
— deray (@deray) September 29, 2017
She went on to namedrop Mckesson two more times, continuing the allegations of violence by saying, “You’ve got a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson, DeRay Mckesson walks away with a hundred thousand dollars, for an organization that is amorphous, we got a problem in this country.”
The Pod Save the People host claims Pirro’s “false” comments were defamatory, made in “reckless disregard,” and could cause himself or other activists harm, as he already receives constant threats. “I take statements that portray untrue statements about me seriously,” said Mckesson — who initially requested a retraction for Pirro’s remarks but was denied.
A Fox News spokesperson pushed back against Mckesson’s claims by suggesting the host’s comments are all within the protection of the First Amendment.
“We informed Mr. Mckesson’s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously,” said the spokesperson.
[image via screengrab]
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