Kyle Rittenhouse spoke at a Tuning Point USA event in Arizona and he hinted that he would be taking legal action against those who defamed him. Rittenhouse said that accountability was coming. He had previously spoken to Nicholas Sandmann on the subject. Sandmann is a multi-millionaire after he settled defamation suits against CNN, NBC, and the Washington Post. Sandmann too was accused of being a racist.
Last month Rittenhouse was found not guilty by reason of self-defense during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse killed two and seriously wounded a third man during the riots in Kenosha. All three men were white with criminal records. Since when is it racist for a white man to shoot three white men? But, that was how he was labeled by the media and then-candidate Joe Biden. Some have suggested that Rittenhouse’s first suit should be lodged against Biden.
While at the Turning Point USA event, Kyle was asked if he would be suing media companies. Kyle answered, “Some accountability’s coming. I’d be on the lookout — accountability is coming,” Kyle has admitted that he talked with Nicholas Sandman on the subject. Sandmann has publicly supported such lawsuits.
But, the two cases are different in one major way. Sandmann was not considered a public figure at the time he was slandered, but, Rittenhouse was and the burden of proof is much higher when a public figure is suing for defamation.
Zack Smith, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation explained:
“In defamation cases, different standards apply whether you are considered to be a public figure or a private figure. If you’re considered to be a public figure, you have to show that the media outlet or the individual making or repeating the factual statement about you did so with actual malice or reckless disregard. That actual malice standard is very difficult to overcome.”
Meanwhile, the foundation of the possible defamation claim — that Rittenhouse was falsely painted as a “white supremacist” when he is not — would be nearly impossible to prove in court because the phrase does not have an objective definition.
“The argument would be no one even knows what that means anymore because it’s so ridiculous, so it wouldn’t be an objective provable statement of fact in any way, so it would be a protected opinion,” First Amendment lawyer Lincoln Bandlow explained. “Defamation only applies to false factual statements. Someone can’t be sued for making, stating an opinion, their opinion about someone.”