Turning Point USA issues cease and desist to ABC News over ‘defamatory statements’ on ‘The View’
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EXCLUSIVE — Turning Point USA issued a scathing cease and desist letter to ABC News on Tuesday, calling for the Disney-owned company to “retract the defamatory statements” made earlier this week on “The View” or face legal action.
“The false statements of fact intentionally made during The View’s July 25th segment were unquestionably harmful to TPUSA’s reputation and brought the organization and its student affiliates into disrepute with the public, potential donors, and current and future business partners, posing a significant financial loss to the organization,” the letter said.
Fox News Digital has obtained the letter, addressed to ABC News New York bureau chief Joshua Hoyos and ABC assistant chief counsel Ian Rosenberg, which accuses “The View” of making “false, derogatory, and defamatory statements” about its recent Student Action Summit.
ABC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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On Monday, the daytime gabfest kicked off its program discussing the TPUSA Student Action Summit that occurred last weekend in Tampa, Florida. “The View” co-hosts mocked the elaborate event for taking “a page from the WWE” simply because of special effects, inaccurately portrayed the group as being officially tied to the GOP and Joy Behar criticized the group because neo-Nazi protestors were outside the venue.
“Neo-Nazis were out there in the front of the conference with anti-Semitic slurs and, you know, the Nazi swastika and a picture of a so-called Jewish person with exaggerated features, just like Goebbels did during the Third Reich. It’s the same thing, right out of that same playbook,” Behar said.
She then said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “did nothing,” but failed to mention the Republican governor attended the event the day before neo-Nazis appeared.
Later on the program, “The View” read an on-air legal disclaimer to inform viewers that Turning Point USA condemned the neo-Nazis protestors who had “nothing to do” with the organization.
“But you let them in, and you knew what they were,” Whoopi Goldberg inaccurately said before the panelists were forced to read another disclaimer and explain the neo-Nazis were “outside protestors” and TPUSA didn’t let them in. “My point was metaphorical,” Goldberg said.
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The on-air disclaimers didn’t satisfy TPUSA in-house counsel Veronica Peterson, who penned the scathing cease and desist.
“The View hosts intentionally and falsely associated TPUSA with neo-Nazi protestors outside the event placing TPUSA in denigrating and false light and negatively impacting its public perception. Such action will not be tolerated,” the letter said.
“Specifically, The View hosts insidiously and cavalierly stated that TPUSA ‘let [neo-Nazis] in’ to its SAS event, metaphorically ‘embrase[d] them’ and that neo-Nazis were ‘in the mix of people.’ The assertion that TPUSA is complicit or affiliated in any way with the neo-Nazi protesters outside the event is outlandish, false, defamatory, and disgraceful,” the letter continued. “Even after Ms. Haines reluctantly read the TPUSA statement that it condemns the group of neo-Nazis and that the group had nothing to do with TPUSA, its event, or its student attendees, Ms. Goldberg continues the false tirade against TPUSA, asserting that somehow the organization and its attendees were ‘complicit’ and/or associated with the outside protest.”
Peterson then added, “To be abundantly clear, TPUSA aggressively and completely condemns the ideologies of neo-Nazism and has zero connection to the protestors outside the event. Since these individuals were located on public property, TPUSA security attempted to, but was not permitted to remove them.”
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The letter also explained that TPUSA is a “a tax-exempt public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)” that is not affiliated with the GOP.
“In cases where the communication is of such a nature that the court can presume as a matter of law that the communication will tend to degrade or disgrace the party defamed, special damages are presumed,” the letter said. “Therefore, TPUSA demands that ABC immediately cease and desist from further unlawfully defaming TPUSA, retract the defamatory statements identified above, and issue a public statement apologizing for and correcting the above defamatory and false statements.”
The letter gave ABC News a deadline of July 27 for the retraction and apology.
“Should ABC decide not to comply with the demands above, TPUSA is prepared to promptly take all steps necessary to protect its rights, including pursuing all available legal remedies, seeking monetary and non-monetary damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs,” the letter said.
This year’s conference in Tampa marked TPUSA’s eighth Student Action Summit. Prior to the event, TPUSA promised “an amazing celebration of self-expression, self-reliance and self-acceptance.”
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Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.