Harvard professor Lessig sues NY Instances for ‘clickbait defamation’ over Jeffrey Epstein tale

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Harvard professor Lessig sues NY Times for 'clickbait defamation' over Jeffrey Epstein story


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A distinguished Harvard Regulation Faculty professor sued The New York Instances on Monday, claiming it engaged in “clickbait defamation” by means of falsely suggesting he as soon as licensed of accepting donations from the past due accused intercourse culprit Jeffrey Epstein.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig speaks on the New Hampshire Democratic Birthday party State Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lawrence Lessig mentioned the Instances revealed an editorial headlined “A Harvard Professor Doubles Down: If You Take Epstein’s Cash, Do It In Secret” final Sept. 14 with reckless omit for its reality.

He additionally mentioned it refused to switch the headline and primary paragraph after he informed the paper they falsely recommended he defended soliciting donations from Epstein.

A Instances spokeswoman mentioned: “Senior editors reviewed the tale after Professor Lessig complained and have been glad that the tale correctly mirrored his statements. We plan to shield towards the declare vigorously.”

The Instances article used to be revealed six days after Lessig wrote an essay on Medium supporting his pal Joichi Ito, who resigned as director of the Media Lab on the Massachusetts Institute of Generation after accepting donations from Epstein.

Lessig had written it used to be a mistake to solicit the donations, but additionally unsuitable for Ito to be “scapegoated.”

The Instances article started: “It’s onerous to shield soliciting donations from the convicted intercourse culprit Jeffrey Epstein. However Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Regulation professor, has been making an attempt.”

Lessig accused the Instances of embracing clickbaiting, “the usage of a stunning headline and/or lede to trap readers to click on on a specific article,” regardless of being “totally conscious” that the observe may just hurt the recognition of its goals.

Lessig’s grievance in Boston federal court docket seeks unspecified damages from the Instances, government editor Dean Baquet, industry editor Ellen Pollock and reporter Nellie Bowles.

Epstein pleaded now not to blame to federal fees he trafficked dozens of underage ladies, prior to the financier used to be discovered useless in his prison mobile final Aug. 10 at age 66.

An post-mortem discovered that Epstein hanged himself. Epstein had pleaded to blame to lesser Florida state fees in 2008.

The grievance calls Lessig a “nationally distinguished professor and prison student with a big social media following,” and his Harvard biography quotes the New Yorker calling him “an important philosopher on highbrow belongings within the Web generation.”

It’s unclear whether or not Lessig is a “public determine” who should display the Instances acted with exact malice in publishing its article.

Lessig mentioned in an electronic mail that if the Instances knew prior to and after e-newsletter of its article’s “falsity,” as he alleged, “there’s no explanation why that wisdom must have affected their responsibilities.”

The case is Lessig v New York Instances Co et al, U.S. District Court docket, District of Massachusetts, No. 20-10060.

Reporting by means of Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by means of Noeleen Walder and Tom Brown



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