BuzzFeed is being sued by Aleksej Gubarev, the CEO of XBT Holdings, after the news company published the unverified Donald Trump dossier last month. In that dossier, Gubarev was linked to claims he was “recruited under duress by the FSB [Russia’s security service]” and was a “significant player” in hacking the Democratic National Committee, CNN reported. Gubarev is also suing the man who allegedly compiled the dossier. A BuzzFeed spokesperson told iMediaEthics that it is being sued not for publishing the dossier, but for including Gubarev’s name.
A BuzzFeed spokesperson told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “We have redacted Mr. Gubarev’s name from the published dossier, and apologize for including it.”
“After the lawsuit was filed, BuzzFeed responded by blacking out Gubarev’s name and his companies from the dossier — then uploading the revised PDF file to its website,” according to CNN.
“We were shocked to see our good name wrongly included and published in this unsubstantiated report. We are confident that the courts will review the evidence of our non-involvement and provide fair and reasonable compensation from the perpetrators of this outrageous allegation,” XBT’s statement read, according to McClatchy.
iMediaEthics reported last month about BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the unverified document alleging to be intelligence memos on Trump, even though it wasn’t verified and there were errors.
Last month, XBT released a statement saying it and its company Webzilla “absolutely deny having had any connection” with the information alleged in the report.
“Our management believes that the information presented in the report, as well as the media that distribute this information cannot be accounted as credible,” the statement read in part. “Our management condemns these activities and has offered to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials investigating this matter.”