November 6, 2017
Today in federal court Robert Barnes filed suit on behalf
of pro-Trump journalist and political activist Cassandra Fairbanks of Big League Politics and
formerly of Sputnik News.
The complaint alleges that Emma Roller, a journalist for Fusion, defamed Fairbanks when Roller
tweeted a photo that Fairbanks posted on social media following a White House press briefing.
The photo features Fairbanks and fellow pro-Trump journalist Mike Cernovich making the “OK” hand
Fusion reporter, Roller, tweeted the same image and accused Fairbanks and Cernovich of making a
“white power hand gesture”.
Before the “white power” Tweet was taken down by Roller, it was shared over 6,000 times.
According to the complaint, Fairbanks experienced extreme emotional distress. But in addition to
that distress, it is the rancor aimed at independent journalists like Fairbanks that made Barnes
take the Fairbanks complaint pro bono. Fairbanks, a single mother of a young daughter, has received
anger and threats targeted at her daughter.
“The false story by Roller incentivized the recent “punch a Nazi” logic that has led to the
legitimization of acts of violence against Trump supporters, reflected in the Kathy Griffith”
comedic” beheading of President Trump himself, seen by Trump’s own son Barron. Fairbanks has been
the victim of threats from ANTI FA members who tweeted photos of her young daughter in threats
toward her. Roller’s false claims incentivizes violence against Fairbanks, and others like her.
That is why the claim includes a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress – a
deliberate lie by a major media member, who has written for the New York Times, spreading the kind
of lie that can endanger her and her daughter’s well being.”
This suit will also examine the role of social media in defamation.
“Defamation-by-tweet is still defamation. This is about Big Media trying to use its leverage to
silence and shame dissident voices in the new media. It is time to equalize the playing field. The
obsessive hatred of Trump supporters in the mainstream media threatens democracy in its shaming and
censorship campaigns. It is time to remedy that. That is what this suit is about.”
Since the suit was filed this afternoon, Fusion shut down its Twitter account.
And, for Fairbanks, having an attorney of Barnes’ caliber take her case pro bono makes her feel not
so alone in her fight.
“He’s amazing,” Fairbanks said, “it is so nice to see someone willing to stand up and fight
for what’s right without anything in return.”