It finally happened folks, as one of the most rabid anti-Trump mainstream media mouthpieces got sued by a tech firm over its publication of an unverified (as in fake news) so called dossier alleging that President Donald Trump has close ties with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
According to McClatchy, the lawsuit is directed against BuzzFeed, the former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele and editor in chief Ben Smith. According to Politico, Buzzfeed already apologized publicly on Friday morning in response to the lawsuit, basically admitting that they’ve been publishing fake news, a little too late though.
XBT Holding is suing over BuzzFeed’s January publication of what it’s called to be libelous, unverified and untrue allegations, which claimed that XBT Holding, a Cyprus based technology company with Russian ties (the company owner is a Russian magnate, Aleksej Gubarev) was involved in porn trafficking, transmitting viruses, stealing data,botnets, planting bugs and conducting altering ops against the Democratic Party’s leadership in 2016.
Politico reports that BuzzFeed said on Friday morning that it had “redacted” Aleksej Gubarev’s name and his companies from the “dossier” while issuing an apology.
The complaint from XBT Holding states:
“Although Buzzfeed and Mr. Smith claim that they had the dossier in their possession for weeks prior to its publication, and despite their claims that they had four reporters working near full-time on attempting to verify the claims made in the dossier, prior to publishing the Defamatory Article and the dossier, neither Buzzfeed nor Mr. Smith contacted the Plaintiffs to determine if the allegations made against them had any basis in fact,” the complaint states.
After the dossier’s publication numerous journalists (more than 30) contacted Mr. Gubarev with some even arranging to travel to Cyprus to discuss the publication with Mr. Gubarev. During this time, and up to the present day, neither Buzzfeed nor Mr. Smith contacted the Plaintiffs to determine if the allegations made against them had any basis in fact.”
Mr. Aleksej Gubarev is not a public figure and according to the complaint, his reputation was ruined after BuzzFeed recklessly released the defamatory materials, while his wife was targeted by online harassment. The lawsuit was filled on Florida, in London Fort Lauderdale and it seeks unspecified damage.