The days preceding last month’s report in the Washington Post regarding 15 former Washington Football Team employees alleging sexual harassment against the team consisted of over-the-top rumormongering regarding the potential content of the anticipated story. Team owner Daniel Snyder is now taking legal action in response to the worst of the rumors.
TMZ.com reports, based on documents it claims to have obtained, that Snyder has initiated a proceeding in federal court in order to obtain information about New Content Media, which owns a website — meaww.com — that, per TMZ.com, posted an article hinting that the story in the Post would link Snyder to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking. The meaww.com post allegedly sourced anonymous Reddit posts, including one that claimed Snyder would be arrested.
The lawsuit also claims that meaww.com asked whether Snyder will rename his team “the ‘Epsteins.’”
Snyder also, according to TMZ.com, has filed a $10 million lawsuit in India against the parent company of meaww.com. Beyond the pursuit of financial recovery for the alleged violation of his rights, Snyder wants the “identity of the third parties involved in hiring [meaww.com] to publish these false and defamatory articles.” This specific claim suggests that Snyder believes and/or has evidence to show that someone actually paid meaww.com to publish the articles, which if true would be a highly unusual development.
The decision to pursue legal action in response to allegedly false statements of fact can be delicate and complicated. The filing of the lawsuit and the media coverage of the litigation can make a story that wasn’t widely known into a much bigger deal. That said, it often may be the best (and only) way to establish that the information was and is false.