Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe files defamation suit against Twitter
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April 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Project Veritas filed a defamation suit against Twitter on Monday, accusing the social media giant of lying about the conservative investigators as a pretext to suppress their reporting critical of CNN.
Last week, Veritas began releasing a series of undercover videos in which CNN technical director Charlie Chester admits and boasts about the news organization's use of “propaganda” and “manipulation” to oust former President Donald Trump, efforts to “milk” COVID-19 and climate change because “fear sells,” and practice of “leading” guests in such a way as to reinforce their predetermined narratives.
On Thursday, Twitter suspended the accounts of Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, claiming that he had supposedly violated the platform’s rule against creating “fake and misleading accounts or us(ing) multiple accounts to manipulate Twitter conversations” or “engage in spamming, abusive, or disruptive behavior.” O’Keefe responded by denying the accusation and announcing he would be “suing Twitter for defamation because they said I, James O'Keefe, ‘operated fake accounts. This is false, this is defamatory, and they will pay. Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me. The complaint will be filed Monday.”
On Monday, O’Keefe filed the suit with the Supreme Court of New York, asserting that Twitter’s claim is “patently and demonstrably false,” that “as the owner and operator of its own platform” Twitter “was in a unique position to know it,” and as such for Twitter to claim otherwise exhibits “reckless disregard.”
The suit details the inconsistency with which Twitter enforces its own rules, such as having previously suspended Veritas for publishing video of a journalist confronting the subject of a story outside his home while allowing CNN (and other news outlets) to do the same without incident, and argues that Twitter’s claim was a “pretext to mislead the public regarding Twitter’s true purpose, which was silencing Mr. O’Keefe’s reporting.”
The lawsuit seeks a judgment confirming that Twitter defamed O’Keefe, monetary damages, and a “permanent injunction enjoining Twitter, its officers, agents, servants, employees, and all other persons acting in concert or participation with Twitter from further dissemining (sic) the false, misleading, and defamatory representations of fact concerning Mr. O’Keefe discussed above, and requiring Twitter to remove such statements in all forums in which they are posted.”
While conservatives remain divided on whether and how to change existing laws to rein in social media giants’ censorship of and discrimination against conservatives, O’Keefe’s lawsuit may represent, for at least some cases, a path forward without having to wrestle with contentious philosophical or constitutional issues. If successful, it would set a precedent of Twitter facing real consequences for banning conservatives under false pretenses, using existing law and long-established principles of legal defamation.