Lawsuit Monday: Melania Trump threatens to sue the Daily Mail; former Fox News host files suit
On the same day that Gawker is shuttered, the same lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker Media warns the British tabloid that it may be sued over salacious story
These are good days for lawyers as new lawsuits targeting media companies were filed or at least threatened on Monday. Not coincidentally, Monday was also the day the Gawker website was shuttered following the successful lawsuit against it filed by Hulk Hogan and financially supported by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.
Yesterday afternoon Politico reported on the threats of lawsuits against the UK tabloid the Daily Mail. The British paper had run a feature on Melania Trump based on a book by Adam Schlecter. That story was then picked up by a number of online news sites, several of which have since retracted the story and apologized, presumably motivated by the threat of getting wrapped up in a lawsuit themselves.
“Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an “escort” in the 1990s,” Charles Harder told Hadas Gold of Politico in an email. “All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.”
If the name Charles Harder sounds familiar it should, he was the lead attorney in the Hulk Hogan case against Gawker Media. Harder told the Guardian that other websites, such as Politico and The Week, have been “put on notice” regarding a story on Trump’s immigration status.
Since word of the threats of lawsuits a number of websites which likely referred to the Daily Mail story have posted retractions and apologies including Inquisitr.
“While Inquisitr writers did not generate said rumors, which alleged Melania Trump previously earned money as an escort, the writer in question was not diligent in fact-checking or maintaining a healthy distance between innuendo and fact,” the Inquisitr apologies states.
“As such, the Inquisitr’s management and editorial staff would like to officially retract this story in full and apologize to Mrs. Trump for any duress she may have endured as a result of these reports.”
This morning The New York Times reported that former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros has filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging that the conservative cable news channel had retaliated against her for writing a book without approval from the network.
This one gets pretty complicated quickly.
Tantaros and Fox News were negotiating a new contract last winter and the television host alleges that Fox News was using the pretext of the book to dismiss her allegations that she was a victim of sexual harassment by7 Roger Ailes.
“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” the NYT said the Tantaros lawsuit states.
“Ailes did not act alone. He may have been the primary culprit, but his actions were condoned by his most senior lieutenants, who engaged in a concerted effort to silence Tantaros by threats, humiliation and retaliation.”
Roger Ailes recently resigned as chairman of Fox News after a somewhat similar lawsuit was filed by Gretchen Carlson. The parties are said to be negotiating a settlement in that case, but this one will keep the issue of what exactly goes on at Fox News in the public eye for a while.
Tantaros is perhaps best known for her claim on Fox News that President Obama used a raw onion to cry on command when talking about gun control and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“I would check that podium for like a raw onion or some no-more-tears,” Tantaros said in January of this year.