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Riley Gaines Might Just Make Pink News Into The Next Gawker Over This Libel
Sources hint at potentially devastating liability
In a story posted Friday morning, the LGBTQAlphabetical website that has become synonymous with libel blamed former college swimmer Riley Gaines for someone making a bomb threat against a library in California. Gaines tweeted her intent to sue Pink News just a few hours later.
A source close to Gaines has confirmed for The Distance that she is following through on her litigation threats. As we reported this spring after Gaines was mobbed by woke campus cretins in San Francisco, she has become intolerant of libels. Pink News chose to lie about exactly the wrong woman.
To accuse someone of a third party’s crime in a headline, without evidence of any connection or even an exhortaiton to the act, is a deeply irresponsible and unprofessional blunder, a violation of the ethics of journalism. It is prima facie libel, meaning that Gaines does not have to ‘prove’ her innocence, merely show that she has been damaged.
Contrarily, in order to mount a legal defense, Pink News founder Benjamin Cohen would have to prove to the court that Gaines is somehow directly responsible for an anonymous phone call in California, or that they acted in good faith by reporting the same. That is not going to happen. Pink News is caught on a legal meathook, here.
The Pink News tweet received a community note. No doubt her solicitor’s filing will sound a similar note.
The only question is how bad Pink News will hurt for this. Some speculate that Gaines might be in a position to do a Hulk Hogan and shut down the website forever, just like Gawker, the notorious tabloid. There is reason to think this might happen.
The United Kingdom has fewer libel protections for publishers than the United States. Based in the UK, Pink News has an established track record of fabricated reporting and nonexistent fact-checking.
In May 2020, they published a raving screed by a mentally ill woman alleging that “an international network of powerful lesbians” was operating “a cult that grooms, controls and abuses” in the United Kingdom. Amy Dyess, the sole source for the story, pointed to journalist Julie Bindel as the ringleader.
Bindel sued. Pink News was forced to retract the story. In a joint statement with Bindel, they agreed “that if the allegations were understood to refer to Julie, they would be wholly untrue” and added that the website had “revised its editorial processes.” Clearly those processes have not improved much.
Shortly after Riley Gaines tweeted about the Pink News hit piece, Bindel replied to Gaines asking her to follow back for direct messages. Bindel later deleted the tweet, but not before it was noted with glee by many hopeful observers.
Presumably, Bindel wanted to communicate information that might be helpful to Gaines, such as how to leverage the complete record of Pink News libel litigation. When The Distance asked a source with knowledge of ‘gender critical’ legal matters in the UK about that possibility, we were told to “stay tuned.”
We will indeed stay on top of this story, dear readers. Have a great weekend.
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