Internet media giant Buzzfeed is being sued by three Russian businessmen for defamation based on the contents of a lengthy report the company published on Jan. 10.
The report details the three billionaire bankers, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan, as key players in the Kremlin’s strategy to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election, which they view as a direct attack on their personal and professional reputations.
Their complaint highlights the ambiguity of the individuals accused in the report:
“Even though the dossier included many harmful allegations about plaintiffs … and even though BuzzFeed expressly acknowledged the unverified and potentially unverifiable nature of the dossier’s allegations, BuzzFeed published the unredacted dossier and the article anyway.”
Buzzfeed has acknowledged the inability to confirm everything in the classified dossier. The extent of some claims, such as that there is a video of the president urinating on Russian hookers, are merely provocative headlines.
Nonetheless, BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal claims the company is hardly anxious at the lawsuit: “Given that the allegations contained in the dossier were presented to successive presidents and remain under active investigation by intelligence agencies and Congress, there is little doubt that their publication was and continues to be in the public interest.”
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