James O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas, filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday against Twitter after being permanently suspended from the platform last Thursday. Twitter banned O’Keefe after the hashtag “#ExposeCNN” trended in response to Project Veritas’ bombshell report showing footage of CNN technical director Charlie Chester admitting the program put out “propaganda” to smear President Donald Trump.
The suit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York, said “Twitter’s false and defamatory claim was that it removed Mr. O’Keefe because he ‘operated fake accounts.'” Jack Dorsey’s company has claimed O’Keefe violated the platform’s rules against employing “multiple accounts to manipulate Twitter conversations.”
“The false accusation that Mr. O’Keefe operated ‘fake accounts’ is particularly damaging for Mr. O’Keefe because Mr. O’Keefe is a journalist,” the lawsuit states. “As such, his reputation for transparency and accurate reporting is fundamental to his profession …Accusing Mr. O’Keefe of misleading his readership by using fake or fraudulent Twitter accounts is extremely damaging to his reputation and imputes general disqualification to do his job as an investigative journalist by lowering the credibility of his reporting and general reputation for veracity.”
The journalist seeks to demonstrate that Twitter acted with “reckless disregard” for the “falsity of this claim.” The platform wrote in an email to O’Keefe that “You may not register or create fake and misleading accounts or use multiple accounts to manipulate Twitter conversations,” and “[t]his account will not be reinstated” in ambiguously clarifying its position.
Twitter declined to comment to The Federalist or explain how O’Keefe violated its rules.
In the hidden video captured by Project Veritas, Chester said, “Look what we did, we [CNN] got Trump out. I am 100 percent going to say it, and I 100 percent believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out…I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that.”
O’Keefe wrote to The Federalist in an email last week, noting that Twitter’s claims are “false [and] defamatory, and they will pay.” The Project Veritas founder added, “Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me.” He seeks a permanent injunction on Twitter in distributing false information about him, the platform to remove all false statements, and damages according to proof.