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Buzzfeed Slammed with $11M Defamation Lawsuit
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Summary: Viral media giant, Buzzfeed, was sued for defamation by Central European News, another viral media company.

On Monday, Buzzfeed was hit with an $11 million defamation suit, The Hollywood Reporter states. Journalist Michael Leidig and Central European News are seeking damages because of Buzzfeed’s August 24, 2015 article called “The King of Bullsh*t News: How a small British news agency and its founder fill your Facebook feed with stories that are wonderful, wacky — and often wrong.”

  
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Buzzfeed alleges in the story that CEN often publishes weird but inaccurate news that goes viral. An example of a story includes a Russian fisherman saved from a bear attack because of his Justin Bieber ringtone.

Leidig identifies himself as an award-winning journalist and the current vice chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies. He says Buzzfeed journalist Alan White approached him in advance about an article about CEN. Leidig says that White’s email to him made it appear he was interested in Leidig’s “laudable investigative journalism.”

However, Buzzfeed’s published piece described the origin of the story as its staff being suspicious of CEN. They evaluated 41 of CEN’s stories and found 11 to be false based on images not matching the content of the story, 8 had suspicious details, 13 were unable to verify, and 9 were real.

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In Leidig’s complaint, he defends his stories. For instance, CEN published a story about lonely Chinese teenagers walking cabbages. Buzzfeed alludes to the story being false, but CEN argues that the sources and quotes were real.

Leidig says because of Buzzfeed’s article he has lost clients and ad sales have dropped 30 percent. He has also lost an investor. Besides the monetary damages, Leidig said that the article caused him emotional pain. His father read the article before he had a stroke, and Leidig claims the article clouded his father’s last view of him—that Leidig was the King of Bullshit News.



Buzzfeed did not comment on The Hollywood Reporter’s story.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Logo courtesy of Buzzfeed



 

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