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Posted at 12:05 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Shirley Sherrod sues Andrew Breitbart over controversial video that cost her job

By The Reliable Source

Andrew Breitbart. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)/ Shirley Sherrod (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Making good on a threat she made in July, Shirley Sherrod has sued conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart for defamation.

The lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court Friday, comes seven months after Breitbart posted an excerpt of a Sherrod speech to the NAACP in which she described struggling to work with a white farmer because of his race. The video quickly went viral, and the Agriculture Department official was pressured to resign that day. Within hours, media reports revealed that Sherrod's comments were part of a longer speech describing an event that happened 20 years earlier and was intended as a lesson about racial bias and poverty.

"This lawsuit is not about politics or race," Sherrod said in a statement released Monday. "It is not about Right versus Left, the NAACP, or the Tea Party. It is about how quickly, in today's internet media environment, a person's good name can become 'collateral damage' in an overheated political debate."

Sherrod, currently unemployed and living in her home town of Albany, Ga., said Breitbart has never apologized and continues to slur her character.

The court filing -- which names Breitbart, producer Larry O'Connor and an unknown John Doe who allegedly provided the entire speech to the blogger -- claims Sherrod suffered defamation and emotional distress. The suit asks for Breitbart to remove the edited clip of her speech (which, according to the suit, can still be found on his site, an apology, and unspecified damages.

Breitbart was served Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting here in D.C., as first reported in the New York Times. In a statement released by his company, Breitbart said, "I can promise you this: neither I, nor my journalistic websites, will or can be silenced by the institutional Left, which is obviously funding this lawsuit." The statement goes on to say that Breitbart "categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech" and is "absolutely confident" of being fully vindicated.

The first hearing is scheduled for May 13

By The Reliable Source  | February 15, 2011; 12:05 AM ET
 
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Comments

If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. There's this thing called "journalistic integrity." If you don't have it, you're not a journalist, but a hack trying to manipulate the public with whatever comes out of your twisted little mind.

Posted by: cfow1 | February 15, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Good for you. Don't agree to pennies on the dollar; go for the gold and maybe pull Fox cable news in on the side. When this law suit is over; you should have gained billions of dollars not millions go for the gusto and the sky is the limit.

Make them understand that just because they said it does not make it true and the news stations have a responsibility to be accountability for what is aired on their stations. Wow, now that I think about it the companies that advertise on those stations hold a portion for accountability. Where is the FCC?

Posted by: sun52shine | February 15, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Good for you. Don't agree to pennies on the dollar; go for the gold and maybe pull Fox cable news in on the side. When this law suit is over; you should have gained billions of dollars not millions go for the gusto and the sky is the limit.

Make them understand that just because they said it does not make it true and the news stations have a responsibility to be accountability for what is aired on their stations. Wow, now that I think about it the companies that advertise on those stations hold a portion for accountability. Where is the FCC?

Posted by: sun52shine | February 15, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Taken out of context-happens all the time, and people lose their jobs. Why not sue her former employers - they are the ones who didn't have all the facts? Luck in your lawsuit - All bad.

Posted by: thomasp11 | February 15, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Why is this in Reliable Source and not a "newsier" section such as Politics or National news?

Posted by: marybindc | February 15, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Good for Shirley Sherrod. She may not win but Breitbart isn't a journalist and when people like him try to intentionally demean and slander someone they should be held accountable. At least credit Sherrod for trying.

Posted by: peterdc | February 15, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Good for her. I hope she nails that pompous jerk to the wall.

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | February 15, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I love how the Post subtley tries to sway their readers by posting cheerful, sunny pictures of the side they champion while posting pictures of the other side looking like the Anti-Christ. The first time I noticed this practice was with Linda Tripp. Not that she needed much help in this area but they would always post the worst possible pictures of her.

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 15, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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