DeRay Mckesson has started a legal battle against Fox News and one of the network’s hosts Jeanine Pirro for having “damaged his reputation and endangered him as a civil rights activist,” TMZ reported.
Mckesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, sued Pirro and the controversial network for accusations that he directed protesters to commit violence against a police officer during a protest for Alton Sterling, a Black man who was killed by a White cop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July 2016. Pirro discussed a dismissed lawsuit filed by the unidentified officer, who reportedly was struck in the face with a rock, against BLM during a “FOX & Friends” episode on September 28, Mckesson said. The media personality fired off several outrageous and false statements about Mckesson, as well as blamed him for “directing the violence” toward the cop, according to documents obtained by TMZ. “You’ve got a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson,” Pirro said, according to Mckesson.
“Pirro’s statements are untrue and further a narrative that I, and other activists, engage in violent protest,” Mckesson said in message to The Baltimore Sun Wednesday.
The activist and educator, who filed the defamation suit in New York Tuesday, had initially aired out his grievances in a post on Twitter in September.
A federal judge ruled McKesson was “expressing his right to free speech at the demonstration, and it wasn’t his fault that the officer got hurt, TMZ previously reported.
A FOX News spokesperson told TMZ that the allegations are unfounded. “We informed Mr. Mckesson’s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings,” the spokesperson said. “We will defend this case vigorously.”
Mckesson, who previously ran for mayor in Baltimore and was head of human resources for the city’s public schools, has been busy with social justice activism and his popular podcast, Pod Save The People. His case against Fox highlights the wrongful assumptions about civil rights protesters being aggressively violent criminals.