As if Jeff Bezos didn’t already have his hands full with his divorce and battle with the National Enquirer, the Amazon tycoon found himself under fire Monday over his newspaper’s treatment of Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann.
Famed media attorney L. Lin Wood said Mr. Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, has battled with the Enquirer over coverage of his divorce while ignoring the Post’s reporting on the Northern Kentucky teen at the center of last month’s viral encounter at the Lincoln Memorial.
“Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, has used media to express his outrage over reporting about him,” tweeted Mr. Wood, who represents the Sandmann family. “Yet, Mr. Bezos has not publicly uttered one word about the rush by The Washington Post to falsely accuse & defame Nick Sandmann, a 16-year-old. The double standard must end.”
Mr. Wood also singled out HBO host Bill Maher, who called the teen “smirk-face” and “a little prick” on his Jan. 25 show, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, for her tweet saying that Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips “endured hateful taunts.”
Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, has used media to express his outrage over reporting about him. Yet, Mr. Bezos has not publicly uttered one word about the rush by The Washington Post to falsely accuse & defame Nick Sandmann, a 16-year old. The double standard must end.— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) February 11, 2019
The boys, who were waiting for buses home after attending the March for Life, were initially accused of harassing Mr. Phillips, but the lengthier video showed that he and several other adults approached the teens.
Mr. Phillips has accused the teen of blocking his path, while Mr. Sandmann said in a statement that Mr. Phillips “locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face” while singing and beating a drum.
In a Medium post last week, Mr. Bezos accused Enquirer owner American Media Inc. [AMI] of attempting to blackmail him by threatening to publish private photos unless he repudiated reports that the Enquirer’s coverage of his divorce was “politically motivated.”
AMI attorney Elkan Abramowitz told ABC’s “This Week” that, “It absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail.”
Bill Maher falsely accused Nick Sandmann of sticking his face in “this elderly man’s face.” He vilified Nick by using obscene profanities to describe a 16-year old. HBO counsel wrote, “any effort to pursue a claim against HBO or Mr. Maher would be frivolous.” I disagree. Do you?— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) February 11, 2019
Attorneys for the Sandmann family sent letters earlier this month to 54 media outlets, politicians, celebrities and Catholic diocese requesting that they preserve information related to the Jan. 18 incident in preparation for a possible lawsuit.
Not all of those who received the letters would necessarily be sued, said Sandmann attorney Todd McMurtry of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.
A spokesperson for the Washington Post said in an email last week that the newspaper had no comment on the lawsuit threat. The list of 54 entities included the newspaper and eight of its reporters.
In another Monday tweet, Mr. Wood took issue with media lawyers who have described such defamation lawsuits as longshots.
“I have never had a media defense lawyer publicly admit that my clients’ claims were valid,” tweeted Mr. Wood, who is based in Atlanta. “But I have had a bunch of them quietly pay my clients millions of dollars.”
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