Seth Rich's Family May Now Sue The Pants Off Of Fox News, Appeals Court Rules
For the past God knows how many years at this point, the family of Seth Rich, a former DNC staffer who was murdered during a botched robbery, has had to deal with an onslaught of completely absurd conspiracy theories about his death — conspiracy theories pushed, in no small part, by Fox News and Sean Hannity in particular.
You've probably heard it before, but just in case you haven't, it goes a little something like this — Seth Rich was working for the DNC one day, when he realized that the DNC was actually very bad and decided to leak a bunch their of emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and then Hillary Clinton found about about it and immediately figured out (magically!) that this random guy she'd never met before was the one what done it and she was so mad that she had him murdered or something, and oh my God #ClintonBodyCount!!!
It is very stupid, but so are the people who believe in it.
In March of 2018, Joel and Mary Rich filed a lawsuit against Fox for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" after the network boosted the formerly fringe conspiracy theory about his death. In August of this year, the lawsuit was dismissed, but on Friday, an appeals court ruled that it could go forward, deeming Fox's reporting on his death as "extreme and outrageous conduct."
Via Mother Jones:
The lawsuit describes a lurid and elaborate plot where a Fox News reporter, Malia Zimmerman, and contributor, Ed Butowsky, befriended the Riches and urged them to hire a private investigator, Rod Wheeler, without disclosing that he was a paid contributor to Fox News. Without the Riches' knowledge, the suit says Wheeler coordinated with Donald Trump's White House and fed Fox News false information peddling the Wikileaks conspiracy theory, which resulted in a May 2017 Fox News story: "Slain DNC Staffer Had Contact with WikiLeaks Say Multiple Sources."
Rich's family asked Fox News to retract the story, which they did five days later. But Fox News guests and hosts like Sean Hannity continued to peddle the false story for months afterward.
After what this poor family has been through, we sure hope that they win their lawsuit and get lots and lots and lots of money from Fox News — a network that sure as hell needs to be taught a lesson about spreading stupid conspiracy theories to stupid people.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse