MSNBC host Joy Reid is being sued for defamation by a California woman who claims the “AM Joy” star falsely accused her on social media of screaming racial slurs at a minor because she is a Trump supporter.
Roslyn La Liberte – who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap during the incident in question – filed the lawsuit in Eastern District Court of New York on Tuesday. She claims that Reid “used her substantial social media presence, fame, and reputation as a hard-hitting journalist” to tell her followers that La Liberte “screamed abhorrent racial slurs” at a 14-year-old boy.
A photo from a Simi Valley, Calif. city council meeting went viral last June when it appeared that La Liberte was involved in a heated conversation with a young boy. According to the plaintiff, Reid sent a series of tweets claiming the viral photo showed the Trump supporter screaming in the face of the young man and retweeting to her followers that La Liberte “needs to be put on blast.”
The suit claims Reid falsely tweeted that La Liberte showed up “to a rally” and “screamed” that Luevanos is “going to be the first deported,” calling the boy a “dirty Mexican” in the process.
The suit indicates that Reid was not present at the event, which was a City Council meeting, not a political “rally,” and that she ‘made up out of whole cloth the accusation that La Liberte screamed racial slurs.”
The young man in the photo, 14-year-old Joseph Luevanos, told a local Fox affiliate that the conversation was civil and that La Liberte doesn’t deserve to be harassed as a result of the viral photo. The conversation was even captured on video and fails to coincide with Reid's claim that La Liberte mistreated Luevanos.
“A few days later and despite the fact that the young man previously and publicly denied Reid’s account of events, Reid openly compared La Liberte’s alleged conduct to racism during the Jim Crow era, stating, in part: ‘History sometimes repeats. And it is full of rage,’” the suit claims.
The lawsuit also claims that the MSNBC star “made up” the fact that La Liberte screamed racial slurs at the minor – resulting in an onslaught of hateful and threatning messages aimed at the plaintiff.
“Reid’s accusation that La Liberte screamed racial slurs at the boy in the photograph are false,” the lawsuit states. “Reid set out to destroy La Liberte because she disagrees with La Liberte’s MAGA hat and the beliefs Reid ascribes to those wearing that hat conflict with her ideology.”
La Liberte is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
Reid is the sole defendant and MSNBC is not named as a defendant in the 18-page suit. MSNBC declined comment. Reid’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Reid has a demonstrable, extreme, and well-publicized bias against President Donald Trump, his supporters, and the Republican Party. Reid has been described as the ‘heroine of the resistance to President Trump’s leadership,” the lawsuit states.
The suit indicates that Reid deleted the posts after being reached by La Liberte’s counsel.
“It appears I got this wrong. My apologies to Mrs. La Liberte and Joseph,” Reid tweeted.
“Even Reid’s supposed ‘retraction’ was evasive and equivocal. She failed to state what ‘this’ is and what she got ‘wrong.’ She included the word ‘appears’ to avoid commitment to the truth,” the suit states.
Earlier this year, Reid claimed homophobic and other hateful posts on her pre-fame blog were planted by diabolical hackers. In April, Reid got emotional on the air when her hacking claim fell apart and admitted it seemed unlikely she was hacked, but claimed that she didn’t recall making the offensive remarks, for which she apologized anyway.