POLITICS

Virginia Lt. Gov. Sues CBS For Reporting On 'Me Too' Accusations

Justin Fairfax is seeking $400 million from the network for airing interviews with two women accusing him of sexual assault.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) filed a defamation lawsuit on Thursday against CBS for airing interviews with two women accusing him of sexually assaulting them.

Fairfax, who’s held office since last year, is seeking $400 million in damages from the network for broadcasting “intentionally fabricated, false, and politically-motivated statements” from the two women in April.

His encounters with Meredith Watson in 2000 and Vanessa Tyson in 2004 were both “entirely consensual,” the lawsuit alleges.

Fairfax’s team also argues that the accusations were a calculated hit on him because CBS aired them right after a far-right group unearthed a photo of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in blackface, thus potentially clearing the way for Fairfax to replace him.

“The timing and circumstances of these false and salacious allegations demonstrate that it was a political hit job — a deliberate and calculated effort to permanently harm Fairfax’s political and professional career and to attempt to prevent him from becoming Governor of Virginia,” the lawsuit alleges. 

CBS’ decision to air them, the suit continues, was “reckless.”

CBS issued a statement Thursday dismissing Fairfax’s claims.

“We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit,” it said. 

Tyson’s attorneys also issued a statement standing by the interview she gave CBS.

“As we have said previously, threats, bullying and victim-blaming by Mr. Fairfax  will not deter Dr. Tyson from speaking up, and she looks forward to testifying under oath to the Virginia General Assembly about Mr. Fairfax’s sexual assault of her,” they wrote.

Fairfax also suggested that CBS aired the accusations to help restore its image after the network’s former chief executive Les Moonves was ousted over sexual misconduct allegations lodged against him.

“Given its own significant problems with #MeToo scandals, CBS had a clear agenda and media bias in seeking to support #MeToo accusers in its reporting on the sexual assault and rape allegations made by Watson and Tyson against Fairfax,” the claim reads. 

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