Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson sued Fox News host Jeanine Pirro Tuesday, claiming she defamed him on national television by saying he’d incited violence against police.
McKesson’s action is one of a series of lawsuits stemming from BLM protests in Louisiana against 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling. McKesson, who was arrested at the protest but had his charges dismissed, received more than $100,000 in damages from Baton Rouge police, according to the New York Daily News. One police officer filed a counter-suit, however, claiming protesters had thrown rocks at him and that McKesson had incited the violence. Pirro referenced this lawsuit on the show “Fox and Friends” earlier this fall.
“In this particular case, DeRay Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence,” Pirro said. “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.”
McKesson’s lawsuit, filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court, argues she knowingly lied about him on national television, basing the claim on the fact the police officer’s suit was dismissed before Pirro made the comments. Fox News responded with vows to fight the lawsuit in a Tuesday statement to reporters.
“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,” Fox News told TMZ.
The police officer’s original lawsuit named McKesson and BLM as defendants. The judge threw out the case, however, ruling that BLM was a movement, not an organization, and could therefore not be sued. He also claimed the officer did not provide enough evidence that McKesson had directly incited violence against him.