During an appearance Monday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Kyle Rittenhouse and his attorney, Todd McMurty, had a message to send to the many establishment media hucksters who smeared his name.
“We are going to make the media pay for what they did to me,” the 19-year-old Rittenhouse told Carlson.
It won’t just be members of the media who will pay, however. According to both Rittenhouse and McMurty, the legal team will be zeroing in on some Big Tech platforms, starting with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.
Rittenhouse faced various charges in relation to the shooting of three men, two of them fatally, during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020, one of many violent racial justice demonstrations that swept across the country that summer.
In November 2021, a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges.
Prior to and during the trial — before a verdict had even been reached — numerous media personalities forwarded unfounded claims about Rittenhouse, including that he was a murderer and a white supremacist.
“They made it hard for me to live a normal life. I can’t go out into public. I can’t go to the store. It’s hard for me to go anywhere without security. Doing basic things like taking my dog to the dog park is difficult,” Rittenhouse told Carlson.
“They made it really difficult to be normal, and they affected future job opportunities to me. I don’t think I will ever be able to work or get a job because I’m afraid an employer may not hire me.”
McMurty then chimed in, making it clear that several defamation lawsuits were on the way, specifically targeting those in the media and on social media who called Rittenhouse a “murderer” and a “white supremacist.”
But perhaps the biggest target of Rittenhouse’s legal team is Facebook.
According to McMurty, the social media giant won’t be able to hide behind the protections afforded to social media platforms by Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act.
Section 230 provisions essentially protect platforms from facing liability for what their users post.
The problem Facebook faces is not just that it allowed defamatory posts on its platform. Many such cases would fall under Section 230 protections.
The platform took things one step further. Employees actively removed posts that were in defense of Rittenhouse — posts that were eventually affirmed by the jury’s verdict in his case.
Facebook suppressed various posts saying Rittenhouse was innocent and even blocked searches for “Kyle Rittenhouse” on the platform, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
According to an Aug. 27, 2020, tweet from Brian Fishman — a Facebook employee at the time — this was done because Facebook considered Rittenhouse to be a mass murderer.
Yesterday we designated the shooting as a mass murder and removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook & Instagram. Per standard practice in these situations, we are also removing praise and support of the shooter and have also blocked searches of his name on our platforms. 2/n
— Brian Fishman (@brianfishman) August 27, 2020
This was all after Zuckerberg himself claimed that Rittenhouse committed mass murder, according to McMurty.
“Mark Zuckerberg announced in a videotape that what Kyle was involved in was mass murder, and that’s clearly defamatory as well,” the attorney said.
We’re taking on Facebook!
Zuckerberg defamed me and spread lies about me in a video. We’re here to prove that his reckless actions aren’t protected under section 230. pic.twitter.com/DXT6vWVjzA
— Kyle Rittenhouse (@ThisIsKyleR) June 8, 2022
“We’re going to sue, A, for the defamatory statements that Kyle engaged in mass murder and B, for violations of Section 230 by taking down posts that were, told the truth about Kyle,” McMurty said.
“So, in essence, they suppressed the truth by taking down truthful posts and they did that in violation of Section 230.”