Milo Yiannopoulos has announced that he will be pursuing a libel action against the New York Observer, after the outlet published an article on Tuesday starkly misrepresenting a joke he had made to Observer reporter Davis Richardson in a private text message as a call for violence against journalists.
“The reckless, malicious and defamatory actions of the New York Observer this week led directly to measurable financial harm and harm to my reputation when journalists, based on the ludicrous claim in the Observer that I was inciting violence against journalists, sought to connect this week’s shooting of five journalists with ‘incitement’ by me,” Yiannopoulos told The Schpiel in an exclusive statement.
“The alleged incitement existed only the feverish imaginations of the Observer’s editors, who published the indefensible headline ‘Milo Yiannopoulos Encourages Vigilantes to Start “Gunning Journalists Down”‘. No part of that is true, and they are going to have to pay for publishing it.”
Yiannopoulos went on to suggest this wasn’t the only false claim made by Richardson.
“Further, the Observer’s piece alleges I am guilty of “racist rhetoric” — another untrue and malicious allegation that will be set out in our coming suit,” he added.
United States defamation law requires the publisher of a statement to either know that it was false at the time of publishing or have exhibited reckless disregard for the truth in order to prove libel. As a consequence, Yiannopoulos is also pursuing a claim in the English courts, where the requirements for libel are much more relaxed.
“I am a British citizen with a primary residence in the UK and I am suing in British court as well,” Yiannopoulos said. “Trust me, English libel law’s a bitch!”
Richardson is a former Daily Caller writer whose reporting has since taken a sharp leftward turn. He is said to be close with Yiannopoulos’ former publicist, Adam Weiss, reporting on a party hosted by Weiss earlier this month. A few weeks later, he was seen chummily showing card tricks to ‘New Right’ commentator Mike Cernovich at Anthony Scaramucci’s Hunt & Fish Club, according to sources present during the encounter.
A close associate of Richardson, The Wrap’s Jon Levine, has also lately published several inflammatory pieces about Milo, farcically accusing the British Jew of antisemitism. Following this debacle, right-of-center figures would be well advised to steer clear of these two reporters, who often present themselves to conservatives as sympathetic voices in private, before going on to smear them with vicious hit pieces.