BuzzFeed Faces $10m New York Libel Action Over Smear on Rival
Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
on behalf of Project Work and Other Clients
Decorated investigative journalist takes high profile legal action after online rival brands him “King of Bulls*it News”
BRITISH news agency Central European News (CEN) has filed a $10 million legal action against BuzzFeed alleging unfair competition and libel.
CEN, a well-established news organisation, has called in New York-based attorney Harry Wise III to lead its case against BuzzFeed, claiming the online giant deliberately set out to damage its business.
The complaint alleges among other things that one of BuzzFeed’s business objectives was “to obtain a greater share of the market for viral news in Great Britain and elsewhere around the world”.
It said that BuzzFeed “maliciously intended” to damage CEN’s business in order to benefit its own business, and claimed it was not the first time BuzzFeed had published stories without worrying whether they were true or false.
The complaint demands $5 million each for Michael Leidig, pictured, and the agency, as well as a further $1.04 million for lost business opportunities, plus punitive damages in a jury trial that could see the amount rise far higher than $11.04 million being sought.
The complaint comes after BuzzFeed published an almost 7,000 word article in April 2015 which described CEN as “one of the Western media’s primary sources of tantalising and attention-grabbing stories”, but went on to insist its stories were “often inaccurate or downright false”.
Harry Wise, a litigator specialising in international business disputes, filed the complaint in the district court in the southern district of New York this week.
He said: “The BuzzFeed story accuses Mr. Leidig, an experienced and award-winning journalist, of the worst thing you can accuse a journalist of – fraud.
“It is unfortunate that BuzzFeed refuses to recognize that its story is completely unfounded, and has done terrible damage to Mr Leidig and his company.
“We look forward to demonstrating those things in court.”
Michael Leidig, CEN’s CEO, said that when he had been first contacted by BuzzFeed they had pretended that they wanted to write a feature on CEN’s “laudable investigative journalism”.
However, when the final BuzzFeed report was published, it made no mention of the agency’s public interest journalism – despite the fact that, in 2006, a three-part series Mr Leidig produced for the Sunday Telegraph on the trafficking of women was nominated for an Amnesty award and also won the Paul Foot award, a British award for exceptional journalism.
Following the publication of the incendiary BuzzFeed article in April, CEN responded by producing a 126-page response a month later. It was published as a book on Amazon, called Buzz Bottom Feeders.
Mr Leidig added: “I wrote to BuzzFeed’s newly-appointed editor Janine Gibson offering to settle this without any money needing to change hands, if they removed the article and apologised.
“At that stage it might still have been possible to rescue certain investments and undo the damage. This olive branch was ignored and as BuzzFeed is not regulated by any independent body, the only alternative was to take legal action.”
Note to Editors
Buzz Bottom Feeders – How BuzzFeed tried to destroy a rival business, is available on Amazon in both electronic and print form here: http://www.amazon.com/Buzz-Bottom-Feeders-BuzzFeed-Business-ebook/dp/B00ZI81ZFS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1434103834&sr=8-2&keywords=Buzz+Bottom+Feeders
To contact Michael Leidig with questions please email on [email protected]
To contact Harry Wise with questions please email on [email protected]
Does your business need helping protecting its reputation against unwarranted attacks?
Holyrood PR can help you get a positive voice when you are facing unwarranted negative criticims – paticularly from those with vested interests in harming you.
If you need help challenging such questionable activity affecting your business, please get in touch on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple form, below, and we’ll get straight back to you:
Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.
Friday, October 12th, 2018
Comments Off on How to Pep up your business with Public Relations, by learning from Man City
So how can we help?
If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.