In a complaint filed today in St. Louis Circuit Court, the St. Louis-based Gateway Pundit is accused of perpetrating "a campaign of lies" against two Georgia election workers.
The two plaintiffs were unwittingly made characters in a "stop the steal" conspiracy theory, the flames of which were fanned, the lawsuit says, by the Gateway Pundit, its founder and dumbest man on the internet
Jim Hoft, and writer Joe Hoft.
According to the lawsuit, the Gateway Pundit repeatedly made "false claims that Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss secretly brought illicit ballots into the arena to be counted and had committed massive voter fraud."
The articles cited in the lawsuit as defaming the two election workers center around a baseless theory first put forth by a lawyer for the Trump campaign in the weeks after the 2020 election. The theory involves grainy surveillance video, an overflowing urinal at the arena where the Atlanta Hawks play, and "suitcases" full of illegitimate ballots. There is in fact an arena where Atlanta's NBA team plays. It was used as a site for counting votes in November. One of its urinals did overflow. But the "suitcases" full of illegal ballots? The Georgia Secretary of State, a Republican, looked into it and found those to be nonexistent.
One of the plaintiffs, Wandrea "Shaye" Moss has been an employee of the Registration and Elections Department for Fulton County, which encompasses Atlanta, since 2012. She supervised the county’s absentee ballot operation during the 2020 election. The other plaintiff, Ruby Freeman, was a temp worker for Fulton County elections in 2020. Both women were mentioned by name in articles published on the Gateway Pundit bolstering the claims of election fraud.
According to their suit, these articles about Freeman and Moss led them "to be vilified on social media and subjected to an onslaught of violent, racist threats." At one point, at the FBI's recommendation, Freeman fled her home and did not return to it for two months. On two occasions, people showed up at Moss's grandmother's house and attempted a "citizen's arrest."
The Gateway Pundit's Twitter account was suspended earlier this year for violating the platform's civic integrity policy. The site regularly publishes stories that have been deemed false by nonprofit fact-checking website Politifact. Throughout the 2020 election, the site regularly published “false reports, conspiracy theories, and unfounded allegations, with no distinction made between opinions and actual news reports,” according to Newsguard.
In its About Us page, The Gateway Pundit states "All our content should be true. No value is more important than this."
However, in a 2017 New Yorker
article about the Gateway Pundit, writer Andrew Marantz told Hoft after an interview that a fact checker from the New Yorker
would be reaching out to him.
“Oh yeah, just like at the Gateway Pundit. We’ve got a huge department of full-time fact-checkers,” Hoft replied. According to the profile, Hoft then “laughed so hard that he nearly spilled his lemonade.”
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