One of the most well-known faces of the Black Lives Matter movement, DeRay Mckesson, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Tuesday, alleging that she defamed him when she stated that he had incited violence against police.
Mckesson was arrested in Louisiana during BLM protests against 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling, but the charges were later dropped. He was one of 186 protesters who later settled a lawsuit against the police for $136,000.
One of the officers on duty that day filed a counter-suit claiming that protesters had been violent, including hitting him in the face with a rock, and that Mckesson was the one who incited the violence against him. He had also named Black Lives Matter in the lawsuit.
In September, a federal judge dismissed the officer’s lawsuit claiming that BLM could not be sued as it is a “social movement” and that the officer couldn’t prove that Mckesson incited the violence.
Discussing the case on Fox & Friends, the fiery host blasted the judge’s decision to toss the lawsuit.
“In this particular case, DeRay Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence,” Pirro said following the ruling. “You’ve got a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson, DeRay Mckesson walks away with a hundred thousand dollars, for an organization that is amorphous, we got a problem in this country.”
Mckesson’s lawsuit claims that her commentary endangered his safety.
“Pirro made these false statements of fact on the highest viewed morning cable show in the country, ‘Fox & Friends,’ which reaches over 1.7 million viewers,” Mckesson’s suit reads. “These statements of fact are false, and were either known to be false by Defendant Pirro or were made with reckless disregard for whether they were true.”
The New York Post reported on Wednesday that Fox News will be fighting the lawsuit.
“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 network said.
The Network also told TMZ that they will be defending this case and their hosts First Amendment rights “vigorously.”