Buzzfeed was sued by the Russia-tied tech firm named in the dossier that contained unsubstantiated allegations against President Trump for including “libelous, unverified” information about the company, McClatchy reported Friday, citing the lawsuits.
The defamation suits were brought by XBT Holdings. Company lawyers reportedly filed complaints against BuzzFeed and its editor Ben Smith. A former British spy and his company were also named in complaints.
The company seeks an “undetermined compensation for the damages.”
A Buzzfeed spokeman told McClatchy that it redacted the name of the company’s owner and “apologize for including it.”
McClatchy reported that the dossier said XBT and affiliates “had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against the Democratic Party leadership.”
The suit reportedly says Alekej Gubarev, XBT’s owner, is married with three children and “has found his personal and professional reputation in tatters.”
The network did not give details about the information, saying the charges had not been verified, but BuzzFeed soon published the 35-page dossier. Most reputable news organizations, following up the story, also did not report the details.
Trump and his team was quick to attack news organizations that spread unsubstantiated reports about a damaging dossier last month collected on him by Russia, an incident that illustrates how old rules of journalism are being tested in today’s rapidly changing media world.
Trump called BuzzFeed “a pile of garbage” for publishing the allegations.
CNN reported that Trump had been briefed by intelligence officials about compromising personal and financial information that Russia had collected on him.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Vice President Pence sharply condemned those who spread the story. Spicer called BuzzFeed’s decision “outrageous and highly irresponsible,” while Pence said it was an effort by some in the media to delegitimize the election and discredit the incoming administration.
“The American people are sick and tired of it,” Pence said.
Meanwhile, Trump credited The New York Times, a newspaper he’s often been at odds with, for its decision not to publish what it could not independently verify.