The Miami Herald is being sued by Li “Cindy” Yang over a March 2019 article headlined “Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl Victory with Founder of Spa where Kraft was busted,” the Herald itself reported.
Yang’s May 6 lawsuit alleges the Miami Herald defamed her and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by saying she was the owner of the day spa where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was accused of paying for a sex act, when she says she didn’t own it at the time.
The article reported that Yang took a “blurry Super Bowl selfie” at Pres. Trump’s country club showing Trump. It also reported that Yang founded the spa but said she sold it, and that Yang recently has “become a fixture at Republican political events up and down the coast.” The article notes that Yang wasn’t charged, has donated money to Trump’s campaign and attended a White House event. The Miami Herald also reported that “Yang’s family still owns several South Florida spas” and there were online comments claiming you could “pay for sexual extras” there.
“The rest of the article is intentionally vilifying by conjecture, innuendo and xenophobia that, when considered together, paints a picture that President Trump is corrupt, and Yang is one of his cronies,” the lawsuit alleges. “The title and picture of the article falsely misleads the reader to assume that President Trump knows Yang and that they were enjoying time together watching the Super Bowl (even though there were ropes separating them).” The lawsuit continues:
“It then transitions to Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s incident at a massage parlor that Yang once owned seven years prior to the incident and connects the two by supposition that Yang’s business, when owned by Yang, had a reputation for offering sexual favors. It then falsely suggests Yang engaged in human trafficking because, after all, she is Chinese, and that is what ‘they’ do. Through false insinuation, Yang is cast in a false light by reporting a comment written years after Yang owned the day spa with a completely inappropriate dysphemism ‘rub and tug,’ clearly meant to offend the reader into supporting the incredibly disparaging false narrative.”
iMediaEthics has written to Yang’s attorney. A McClatchy spokesperson provided iMediaEthics with the following statement from Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch:
“We stand behind our stories, which accurately reflect publicly available documents and investigations of spas run by Cindy Yang and her family.”