Harvard Professor Sues Leading Daily For ‘clickbait Defamation' Over Epstein Story

Rest of the World News

Harvard University law professor Lessig sued the New York Times for allegedly using clickbait headline and defamatory lede over a Jeffrey Epstein story.

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:
Harvard

A Harvard University law professor sued the New York Times for allegedly using clickbait headline and defamatory lede for a Jeffrey Epstein story. Lawrence Lessig had written an essay about his friend, Joichi Ito, accepting donations for M.I.T Media Lab from convicted sex offender Epstein and the law professor claimed Ito was made the scapegoat in the whole controversy.

The New York Times conducted an interview with Lessig soon after he published the essay. The newspaper published the interview with headling 'A Harvard Professor Doubles Down: If You Take Epstein’s Money, Do It in Secret'. Written by Nellie Bowles, the lede of the NYT article said that Lessig has been trying hard to defend soliciting donations from the convicted sex offender.

Read: 'My Hope Is For An India Where...': Nadella Issues Statement On CAA Amid Controversy

Professor Lessig lashed out at the newspaper saying his article clearly does not defend soliciting donations from Epstein and wrote a point by point rebuttal after suing the NYT. “My essay said - repeatedly - that such soliciting was a ‘mistake’. And more importantly, it was a mistake because of the kind of harm it would trigger in both victims and women generally.” He asserted that the lede and headline were ‘flatly false’ since he never said that taking money from Epstein anonymously was ok.

Read: Trainer Sues California Racing Board Over Justify Drug Test

'False and defamatory'

The Harvard professor said that he had asked the US daily to correct the two “false and defamatory” statements knowing journalism is “hard and deadlines are short”. Lessig was astonished when NYT refused to change the lede and the headline and tried to justify it. A Times spokesperson reportedly said the senior editors reviewed the story and were satisfied that the story “accurately reflected” his statements.

Lessig said that the editors’ denial was a result of internet age journalism incentives where driving eyeballs is important to drive advertising revenue. “Flashy and fun is harmless. False and defamatory is not. I still can’t believe truth alone was not a sufficient incentive for the Times to correct its false statements,” wrote Lessig.

Read: Epstein Gave $850,000 To MIT, Visited 9 Times, Report Finds

Read: Woman Sues Epstein Estate, Says She Was 14 During Encounter

(With inputs from agencies)

Published:
By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water
SAVE WATER NOW
PEOPLE HAVE PLEDGED SO FAR
DO NOT MISS