The Huffington Post contributor who broke the scandal involving Fox News’ Eric Bolling, Yashar Ali, is now being threatened with a hefty lawsuit – $50 million, to be exact.
“He is trying to intimidate me. He sees me as a young reporter that may be scared by big lawsuits. But if he wants to wade into this pond, I’m happy to go in with him,” Ali told host Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Bolling’s threat does not target Huffington Post, nor any of the three women who made up the basis of the report, that Bolling had sent them unsolicited photos of male genitalia.
Bolling didn’t immediately deny the story. Instead, through his attorney, he said he didn’t “recall” sending anyone pics of his junk.
Ok. He didn’t say “junk,” and for that matter, nobody said it was his male “junk” that was sent. That’s just assumed, because, why would he be sending pics of anybody else’s junk?
But back to Ali:
“My life history has given me a lot of experience to not be scared by these things,” Ali said.
Ali cited 14 sources in the original piece, which eventually led to Fox News suspending the host, as well as snatching his name from the social media accounts for the show he co-hosted, “The Specialists.”
“He’s wrong because I spent three months on this story. As you said, I have 14 sources. I’ve spoken to the victims, and that’s on a factual basis. I know he’s wrong,” Ali continued, adding that “the best defense of defamation is the truth.”
“It’s really important to note, Brian, that he’s suing me personally for $50 million. He did not include HuffPost, which is owned by Verizon, in this lawsuit. If he wants $50 million, if you feel that you’ve been aggrieved and you deserve damages, you go after the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, not an individual reporter,” Ali told Stelter.
And it may very well be an attempt to intimidate Ali to pull the story and back off. To date, however, Ali is standing by his story and Bolling remains suspended, while an outside agency investigates the claims for Fox News.
“I relish the opportunity to see and being deposed and to stand up for not only my First Amendment rights, the First Amendment Rights of many reporters who messaged me after this came out, saying that they would be scared by this kind of action,” Ali said.
“And, you know, I’m not trying to turn myself into a representative for the media here, but I feel like I have to really fight this because of other reporters who would be frightened by this kind of action,” he added.
Ali has demanded that Bolling dismiss the lawsuit. Meanwhile, HuffPo is standing with him, and the suit is very likely exactly what he said it was in the beginning: an intimidation tactic.
Apparently, Fox felt it credible enough to suspend Bolling the day after the report was released, so let the investigators do their job, and let the truth be known.