''We are confident that the courts will agree that this lawsuit is completely frivolous and is a blatant attempt to chill freedom of the press.''
''This suit is baseless and we stand by our reporting.''
Statements from The American Independent News Network and MSNBC in response to a $50 million defamation lawsuit brought against popular news host Rachel Maddow by a Christian rock musician/broadcast preacher. (CityPages)
The lawsuit is being filed in Washington, DC because plaintiff Bradlee Dean's radio show can be heard over the District's airwaves. Wording of the lawsuit begins with a description of Dean:
''Bradlee Dean is a renowned and accomplished hard metal rocker who came to Jesus Christ after a difficult and sinful youth resulting in part to an absent father who was imprisoned and largely absent Mother.''
In addition to Maddow, Dean is also suing defendants NBC Universal, MSNBC, The Minnesota Independent and reporter Andy Birkey. Dean specifically calls Birkey "a secularist/or atheist and gay activist with a politically left ideology who despises people of faith, including but not limited to the Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN)....." He describes Maddow as "of a leftist political ideology, who as a committed and also proud lesbian is active in the so called 'gay rights' movement" who views Dean and Bachmann as "a threat to 'gay rights.'"
His complaint includes a claim that Maddow's show "disparaged Bradlee Dean's physical appearance," "his profession as a heavy metal entertainer," and also that Dean and his You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International "advocated for the execution of gays." Dean's lawsuit admits that Maddow quoted Dean as stating "We have never and will never call for the execution of homosexuals," but maintains that it was done in a begrudging manner. The suit makes numerous additional references to Michele Bachmann and Fox News.
Dean claims that the defendants omitted his many statements "that they did not advocate the execution of gays, but that to the contrary gays and lesbians should be loved as the children of God." He also claims to have received "death and other threats from gay activists," and that the actions of Maddow and the other defendants were "calculated to incite and cause physical and other harm to Plaintiffs," their families, those who they associate with "at extreme risk of severe bodily injury and death."
Most of the original comments made by both Maddow and Dean can be viewed on a blog post done here almost one full year ago. Maddow had been discussing Minnesota's (failed) gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer allegedly making a financial donation to Dean. Earlier Dean had shared (on air) his thoughts about Muslims calling for the execution of homosexuals in America, and also about people who engage in "crimes against nature."
In a prepared statement about the lawsuit, Dean went much further, saying
"In the course of doing high school assemblies, I was shocked to learn that there were those that were offended at my message, for teaching the nation's youth that homosexuality is not a preferred lifestyle. I do not dislike homosexuals, I seek their redemption, not their condemnation. But I've come to the position that I'm not, and I will not, and I cannot allow the gay lifestyle to be forced upon the nation's youth through indoctrination.... [The] left wing media often furthers this regrettable lifestyle through its propaganda."