Fox News has been slapped with yet another defamation lawsuit, this time by Ray Epps, a former U.S. Marine turned Arizona wedding venue operator who was in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
As reported by NPR, “the suit centers on the statements of Fox’s former primetime star, Tucker Carlson, who repeatedly placed Epps, a supporter of then-President Donald Trump who says he sought to stave off any bloodshed, at the center of the violent siege on the U.S. Capitol.”
“Carlson’s guests and his own remarks conveyed with seeming certitude that Epps helped instigate the violence unleashed that day and also that he must have been collaborating with a federal agency to do so. Yet Carlson never presented viewers with any concrete evidence of the claims,” the report states.
“In the aftermath of the events of January 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame other than Donald Trump or the Republican Party,” the lawsuit begins. “Eventually, they turned on one of their own, telling a fantastical story in which Ray Epps — who was a Trump supporter that participated in the protests on January 6th – was an undercover FBI agent and was responsible for the mob that violently broke into the Capitol and interfered with the peaceful transition of power for the first time in this country’s history.”
Other Fox personalities also picked up the call, including Laura Ingraham and Will Cain, according to NPR.
Epps’ attorney, Michael Teter, said that Epps and his wife were Fox viewers and Carlson fans whose lives were turned upside down by the network.
“Fox News and in particular Tucker Carlson spent a good part of two years lying about Mr. Epps’s involvement in January 6th, creating a fictitious story and narrative about him that is wholly untrue,” Teter told NPR. “And because of that he has faced harassment and threats from Fox viewers and others that have ruined his life.”
Epps said he and his wife had to sell their home — and give up their wedding business — and move to a mobile home in Utah.
“He believed in Donald Trump and he believed the lies that Fox told,” Teter says. “The fact that then Fox would take one of their viewers and turn him into the villain of one of their conspiracy theories demonstrates what we’ve known for a while, which is Fox News does not care [about its viewers].”
“It cares about making money,” Teter says. “And it will lie to them. It will discredit them. And ultimately it will ruin their lives if they see a profit for them to be made.”
Fox and Carlson did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Read more on NPR.