The Huffington Post published a contributor blogpost reporting that online news and commentary channel Young Turks reporter Jordan Chariton sexually assaulted women. Shortly afterwards, Chariton was fired. Now, Chariton is suing the HuffPost for $23.5 million, alleging it was a a plot and “career crippling defamation,” Mediaite’s sister site Law & Crime reported.
The Nov. 16 HuffPost article was headlined, “Jordan Chariton Accused by Former Employees of Sexual Abuse, Harassment.” It was bylined by HuffPost contributor Christian Chiakulas.
Chariton denies the allegations, with the lawsuit stating, “Chariton did not sexually assault any women.” Further, the lawsuit alleges that the article was “plotted” in a Facebook group and that the author of the article (Chiakulas) “had personal grievances” with Chariton.
HuffPost unpublished the article “one day after publication but refused to issue a retraction,” the lawsuit notes. The post was re-published by Chiakulas on blogging site Medium.
iMediaEthics asked the HuffPost why the blogpost was removed, and if HuffPost ever issued a retraction or statement on the unpublishing. A Huffington Post spokesperson told iMediaEthics by email, “We do not comment on pending litigation.”
In a Twitter direct message to iMediaEthics, Chiakulas pointed to post on Medium by Bill Moran, Chariton’s lawyer, that threatened legal action against him. Chiakulas said that Facebook discussion group “messages will clearly show that my article was not plotted in advance” but that he himself won’t release them without the consent of all others in the group. Chariton’s lawyer Moran confirmed “We are exploring pursuing legal action against” Chiakulas.
Chaikulas denied having any “personal grievance with Chariton” to motivate the article.
The Dec. 12 lawsuit against HuffPost and parent company Oath is uploaded here.