The owner of the Truth Social platform, Trump Media & Technology Group Corp, has launched a lawsuit against 20 major media businesses, including The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Miami Herald, among others.
The case, filed in Sarasota County, Florida, in the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, claims a planned media onslaught involving false reporting of a $73 million loss by TMTG.
Here are the lawsuit’s claims:
- “This case is about an unprecedented and seemingly coordinated media campaign, by no less than 20 major media outlets, to attack Trump Media & Technology Group (“TMTG”) and its social media platform, Truth Social, by falsely reporting that TMTG had lost $73 million.
- This number was an utter fabrication. Each defendant, in apparent coordination, reported the exact same false number within approximately 24 hours of one another, each citing to a public Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filing, in which the mystery $73 million loss appears nowhere.
- This was a coordinated effort to damage TMTG’s reputation, degrade the firm’s financial standing, freeze its access to capital, and torpedo the anticipated merger between Digital World Acquisition Corporation (“DWAC”) and TMTG.
- On November 13, 2023, DWAC submitted an amended S-4 registration statement with the SEC, which marked a major milestone toward the completion of the planned merger between DWAC and TMTG. TMTG publicly stated that the S-4 was good news for TMTG.
- Because this filing involves TMTG and President Trump’s Truth Social, however, these defendants ignored or downplayed TMTG’s public statements regarding a positive development. Instead, they deliberately or recklessly published false financial information to advance a preferred and coordinated narrative harmful to TMTG.
- All defendants ran nearly identical headlines that reported some variation of “Trump’s Truth Social” having lost “$73 million.”
- On November 14, 2023, TMTG contacted each of these media defendants, notifying them in writing of their error, specifying that their statements about a supposed $73 million loss were false and defamatory, and demanding a retraction and apology. To date, while some defendants have issued little-noticed “corrections” or “updates,” none have retracted the defamatory articles, publicly apologized, or taken any other steps to ameliorate the continuing damage.
- Although TMTG will continue pursuing its mission and planned merger with DWAC, the widespread misreporting across the entire media landscape has nonetheless deeply harmed TMTG, eroding faith in the company’s operations and management, and making it more difficult for TMTG to raise additional capital to fund operations while its planned merger with DWAC is pending SEC review. Existing investors and potential investors alike were concerned by the false stories.
- TMTG intends to hold these reckless and malicious media outlets to account for their false reporting and for their seemingly coordinated effort to destroy TMTG and Truth Social.
The following parties are named in the lawsuit:
- Plaintiff TMTG is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Sarasota, Florida.
- Defendant GUARDIAN NEWS AND MEDIA, LLC (“The Guardian”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, LLC (“The Hollywood Reporter”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant THE MCCLATCHY COMPANY, LLC, d/b/a Miami Herald (“Miami Herald”) is a Delaware limited liability company, with its principal place of business in Miami, Florida.
- Defendant REUTERS NEWS & MEDIA INC. (“Reuters”) is a Delaware corporation.
- Defendant ROLLING STONE, LLC (“Rolling Stone” is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant NEXSTAR MEDIA INC., d/b/a The Hill (“The Hill”) is a corporation based in Washington, D.C.
- Defendant DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD LLC (“Deadline”) is a Delaware
limited liability company.
- Defendant ACCRETIVE CAPITAL LLC, d/b/a Benzinga (“Benzinga”) is a Michigan limited liability company.
- Defendant MARKETWATCH.COM LLC (“MarketWatch”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant FORBES MEDIA LLC is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant AXIOS MEDIA INC. (“Axios”) is a Delaware corporation.
- Defendant THE DAILY BEAST COMPANY, LLC (“The Daily Beast”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant G/O MEDIA, INC., d/b/a Gizmodo is a Delaware corporation.
- Defendant SALON.COM, LLC (“Salon”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant NEW YORK DAILY NEWS COMPANY (“New York Daily News”) is a New York corporation.
- Defendant NEWSWEEK DIGITAL, LLC (“Newsweek”) is a New York limited liability company.
- Defendant MSNBC CABLE, LLC (“MSNBC”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant MEDIAITE, LLC (“Mediaite”) is a Delaware limited liability company.
- Defendant DMG MEDIA LTD., d/b/a Daily Mail (“Daily Mail”) is a media company based out of the United Kingdom.
- Defendant CNBC, LLC is a Delaware limited liability company.
TMTG claims the defendants of creating a loss number of $73 million, citing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that does not include such information. “This number was an utter fabrication,” the lawsuit alleges, emphasizing that each defendant allegedly reported the identical bogus number based on the SEC filing.
The action appears to be an intentional attempt to destroy TMTG and Truth Social’s image and financial strength, which might jeopardize a large merger between Digital World Acquisition Corporation (DWAC) and TMTG. “This was a coordinated effort to damage TMTG’s reputation, degrade the firm’s financial standing, freeze its access to capital, and torpedo the anticipated merger,” according to the lawsuit.
TMTG claims that these activities have caused significant injury by undermining trust in the firm and its management and making it more difficult to acquire more finance. The media coverage is being characterized as a “coordinated attack” against TMTG and its social media platform, Truth Social.
The lawsuit also mentions TMTG’s efforts to fix the matter, such as contacting the media defendants to correct the misleading reporting. TMTG claims that, despite occasional corrections and updates, no substantial retractions or apologies have been issued.
The action demands $1.5 billion in compensatory, special, and punitive damages, as well as an injunction against continued publishing of the defamatory remarks. TMTG claims that the defendants’ activities were carried out knowingly, intentionally, willingly, wantonly, and maliciously.