Andy wrote some months ago about the bizarre lawsuit filed against Rachel Maddow and MSNBC by rocker, activist, Christian, bigot, and noted crazyperson Bradlee Dean. Maddow, Dean claimed, misrepresented some remarks he'd delivered on a radio program. (Watch the original Maddow segment AFTER THE JUMP.)
Here's how Dean's edited remarks appeared on Maddow's show:
Muslims are calling for the execution for homosexuals in America. ... They themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible, the Judeo Christian God. They seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do. Because these people are livid about enforcing their laws, they know homosexuality is an abomination. ... If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that's what you're seeing in America today.
Here's what Dean actually said:
Muslims are calling for the execution for homosexuals in America, this was just released yesterday and it shows you that they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible, the Judeo Christian God. They seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do. Because these people are livid about enforcing their laws, they know homosexuality is an abomination. And I continually reach out to the homosexual communities on this radio show, and I warn them, which ones love? Here you have Obama condemning it behind the backs of the homosexuals but to their faces he's promoting it. I say this to my gay friends out there the ones that continuously nitpick everything I say. Hollywood is promoting immorality and the God of the Heavens in Jesus names is warning you to flee from the wrath to come, yet you have Muslims calling for your execution. If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that's what you're seeing in America today. Read Leviticus 26 America.
(FYI: Dean has always asserted that he's not actually advocating the literal execution of actual gays -- a disclaimer which Maddow happily included in her segment.)
You'll note that the two quotes are identical in essence, though not in text. Nevertheless, Dean's suing MSNBC for $50 million. (He claims that the lawsuit's about principles, not cash.) Maddow and co. are now firing back: According to The Hollywood Reporter, they've hit Dean with an anti-SLAPP claim which could force him to pay their legal fees.
From the filing:
1. "One, the broadcasts truthfully reported on Dean’s May 15th statements. Those broadcasts re-played original audio of Dean speaking on the May 15th radio show. Dean does not – and cannot – allege that he did not make those controversial statements. The fact that NBCUniversal broadcast the essence but not the entirety of what Dean said during that radio show, as he now protests, does not change this analysis. Dean bears sole responsibility for the consequences of his words, however much he may try to distance himself from the backlash.
2. "Two, the commentary or rebuke Maddow offered about Dean’s statements was classic opinion and rhetorical hyperbole, and thus, cannot be actionable as a matter of law. As Dean is entitled to his opinions, however objectionable, so too is Maddow entitled to hers."
3. "Three, the fair comment privilege protects Maddow’s commentary. The broadcasts featured Dean’s actual statements and clearly indicated the source of those statements. Viewers were free to make up their own minds as to whether they agreed with Maddow’s remarks."