Fox News sued for billion over US election claims
Dominion Voting Systems, a voting technology company that was the target of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, has filed a US$1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) defamation lawsuit against the right-wing channel Fox News.
The company alleged that the network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and participated in a disinformation campaign against it because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”
In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, then-president Donald Trump falsely asserted that the election had been rigged against him. His allies promoted outlandish conspiracy theories about Dominion to support Mr Trump’s false claims.”
Fox took “a small flame” of disinformation and “turned it into a forest fire,” Dominion said in its lawsuit.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion’s lawsuit added. “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
Dominion said that as a result of Fox’s “orchestrated defamatory campaign” it had suffered “enormous and irreparable economic harm” and that its employees had been subject to death threats.
A spokesperson for Fox said the network was “proud” of its 2020 election coverage, describing it as standing “in the highest tradition of American journalism.”
The spokesperson added that Fox will “vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”
Dominion is the second election technology company to file a lawsuit against Fox. Smartmatic sued Fox for $2.7 billion ($3.5 billion) in February, making similar allegations against the network. Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and individual Fox hosts were named in that suit in addition to the network.
Fox called the suit “meritless,” vowed to “vigorously defend” itself in court, and filed a motion to have the suit dismissed.
Government officials and independent experts repeatedly said after the November election that there was no evidence of significant widespread fraud. Nevertheless, Fox’s top shows repeatedly suggested that Mr Trump’s claims had merit.
In its lawsuit, Dominion specifically mentioned hosts Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro, three of whom were named as defendants in Smartmatic’s lawsuit.
Fox is the sole defendant in this suit. Fox eventually aired an unusual point-by-point fact check last year, debunking some of the wild election fraud claims made on the network. That package aired after Smartmatic sent Fox a legal threat. One of Fox’s anchors in November interviewed a Dominion spokesperson who pushed back against some of the wild claims about the company.