It seems that spreading fake news just became an expensive proposition, at least for some of those involved in perpetuating the false narrative against the Covington kids. CNN recently settled with Nick Sandmann, who received the brunt of the criticism for smiling as activist Nathan Phillips beat a drum in his face. But the news outlet is not the only one feeling the heat.
Former CNN host and now professor at the University of California, Riverside Reza Aslan recently deleted his tweet stating that Sandmann had a “punchable face.” He posted the tweet when the media was knee-deep in their campaign to smear the kids as virulent racists.
Now, almost a year later, long after the media lies were exposed, Aslan decided to remove the tweet. But he claims that it has nothing to do with the settlement with CNN.
Robert Barnes, Sandmann’s attorney, recently filed defamation suits against others involved in the campaign against the student. Aslan is one of the individuals he is suing. “LOL now Reza Aslan deleted his Covington tweet. After all this time,” one Twitter user pointed out.
Barnes responded, “Apparently, Reza Aslan got served the suit I filed against him on behalf of #CovingtonBoys.”
But the professor claims that he deleted the tweet at the behest of his wife and not because of the lawsuit. He explained in a series of tweets. “Look I honestly don’t know why you are so interested but you seem like a nice person so I will answer you. I actually thought I had deleted that tweet a long time ago, after I clearly addressed my intention in writing it,” he wrote. “My wife had asked me to delete it and I do whatever my wife tells me to do. Then a couple of days ago, I saw that it had been remarked upon by this felon and adulterer you may be familiar with. I believe his name is Dinesh something. I realized I hadn’t and so I did. End of story”
My wife had asked me to delete it and I do whatever my wife tells me to do. Then a couple of days ago, I saw that it had been remarked upon by this felon and adulterer you may be familiar with. I believe his name is Dinesh something. I realized I hadn’t and so I did. End of story
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 9, 2020
The lawsuit against Aslan alleges that his tweet lashing out at Sandmann pushed the false narrative that the Covington Kids were the aggressors in the altercation. It was later revealed that a group of Black Hebrew Israelites started the incident by hurling racist and homophobic epithets at the kids. Footage then shows Phillips approaching the kids with the drum, contradicting the media’s claims that the kids were harassing him.
The lawsuit continues:
“False and Defamatory Accusations against the plaintiffs are defamatory per se, as they are libelous on their face without resort to additional facts, and as clearly demonstrated here, [the plaintiffs] were subjected to public hatred, contempt, scorn, obloquy, and shame,” the lawsuit argues. “The conduct of the plaintiffs, based on the false facts the defendants placed and circulated into the court of public opinion, led to these lifetime labels on these minors: ‘display of hate, disrespect and intolerance’; ‘heartbreaking’; ‘decency decayed’; ‘racist’; ‘cried for America’; ‘infamous’; ‘gall’; ‘shameful’; ‘darker chapters’; compared to genocide; ‘laughing and egging on’ ‘hurtful’ behavior; ‘awful’; ‘cavemen gestures’; ‘taunting’; ‘harassing’; ‘stalking’; ‘mocking’; ‘bullies’ who should be doxed, ‘named and shamed’, expelled from school, denied admission to college, be punched in the face, and their lives ruined.”
Barnes is asking the court to grant “damages in an amount not less than $15,000 but not more than $50,000 against each defendant” involved in the lawsuit. The lawsuit also includes other prominent leftists such as CNN contributor Ana Navarro, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), journalist Maggie Haberman, and comedian Kathy Griffin.
Aslan’s decision to delete the tweet the day after CNN’s settlement was announced could be exactly what he claims: An acquiescence to his wife. But given the timing — and the fact that he could have done so at any time over the past year — it’s not hard to imagine that he might be trying to sell us some prime beachfront property in Wyoming. Either way, it appears that at least some who promoted the Covington kids hoax are concerned about the potential consequences for their purveying of fake news.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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