Jason Miller is using the Hulk Hogan playbook to try to take down a news site that he says ruined his life. The former White House communications director is suing Gizmodo Media Group for $100 million over an explosive story on its news site Splinter.
Last month, the site’s managing editor Kaitlyn Krueger published a piece citing a sealed court filing which claimed that Miller had an affair with a dancer he met at a strip club. When he found out his paramour was pregnant, Miller allegedly gave her a smoothie that (unbeknownst to her) had an abortion pill in it.
According to the Splinter article, the unborn child died and the woman ended up in the hospital because the smoothie reacted with street drugs she had in her system. Miller attempted to have the woman sign a non-disclosure agreement, but she refused.
These allegations are explosive—and untrue, according to Miller. He claims the story was planted by A.J. Delgado, a former Trump campaign staffer who had an affair with Miller, gave birth to his child and then waged “all-out war” against him by going to Splinter.
So this week, Miller sued the site and Krueger in Florida federal court (the same jurisdiction as Hogan’s case). His lawyers, Ken Turkel and Shane Vogt, were on the team that represented Hogan when he sued Gawker.
The complaint doesn’t mince words, eschewing conventional legalese for Trump-style rhetoric. “This case is a terrifying example of how people can use false accusations of violence against women to ruin someone’s life,” the first sentence reads. “None of these accusations are true.”
Miller’s lawsuit doesn’t use the term “fake news,” but it traffics in some of his ex-employer’s favorite talking points. “The sad reality is that the defendants could not care less about the truth of the accusations they published to millions of readers,” the suit reads. “The truth rarely matters in the court of public opinion.”
The complaint further claims that the accusations against Miller are a byproduct of the #MeToo movement.
“There are people who know they can weaponize important social movements to inflict immediate and irreversible harm upon their adversaries,” Miller’s legal team said. “There are people who think the First Amendment gives them free reign [sic] to publicly level false allegations which, once posted online and on social media, result in knee-jerk reactions, scorn and ridicule, assumptions of guilt in the court of public opinion and immediate terminations of employment because businesses are understandably fearful of being associated with people merely accused of engaging in misconduct society deplores. People who play games with others’ lives and think they can hide behind the First Amendment are wrong and must be held accountable and punished.”
Miller accused Delgado of trying to enlist other journalists, including former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer and HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali, in her “nefarious plot.” Ali allegedly texted Delgado that Miller was a “psycho,” and she replied, “Do yo thang, Woodward/Bernstein.”
But Splinter is the main target of Miller’s vitriol, since it was the first outlet to publish a story. He says the site “predictably and flippantly refused” his request for a retraction, and so the story “spread like a virus.” As such, “Miller’s life as he knew it was over,” the suit concludes.
Miller is accusing Krueger and Splinter of actual malice, along with “reckless disregard for and purposeful avoidance of the truth” because they didn’t fact-check the article.
But Gizmodo Media Group (Splinter’s parent company) isn’t backing down. “We have not yet been served with the complaint and will respond more fully when we have had a chance to review it,” a spokesperson told Observer. “GMG stands by its reporting and its reporter.”
It’s not clear how Miller’s lawsuit will hold up in a court of law. But the Trumpian phrasing in the complaint shows he’ll go down swinging against “fake news.”