Michele Bachmann’s favorite preacher, Bradlee Dean, is suing Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and NBC universal for $50 million, alleging that Maddow defamed him on her TV show.
Dean claims Maddow injured his reputation and fundraising ability when she accused him of calling for the execution of homosexuals.
Maddow was referring to statements Dean made on his radio program on May 15 of last year:
“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
Dean has close ties with some high-profile Republicans, especially his congressional representative, Michele Bachmann, who has praised and prayed for his ministry on-air. So Dean’s incendiary comments were noted by liberal bloggers in Minnesota, including Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent, who is also named in the suit.
The story was subsequently picked up by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
But while Dean was happy to make the statement — and he’s had plenty more to say about homosexuality, including repeatedly calling for the reinstatement of sodomy laws to outlaw gay sex — he didn’t like the way the media was characterizing what sounded like an endorsement of gay executions. He posted a statement on his website that he doesn’t advocate killing homosexuals, and claimed that anyone who thought his statement suggested otherwise was maliciously misinterpreting him.
Which brings us to today’s press conference. Dean originally wanted to hold it in front of Rockefeller Center, but had to settle for an almost deserted room in the New York Press Club. Here’s his statement:
Representing Dean in his case is Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch. Klayman told reporters today that Maddow’s statement were defamatory.
Dean’s words weren’t meant to be interpreted seriously, Klayman said. “That statement was made tongue-in-cheek, to challenge Christians.”
“This is a complaint against Rachel Maddow and MSNBC, because just like [gay people] my client, Bradley Dean and [his ministry] You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, deserve to be able to speak their peace, to have their views known, and to allow young kids to decide how they want to live their life.”
The suit is being filed in Washington DC, and in addition to claim for defamation, also includes a “false light” claim, which
Winning these claims will require proving that Maddow and MSNBC made their reports of Dean with actual malice.
The full complaint, which claims that Maddow and Birkey willfully misinterpreted Dean’s words because of their own agenda as gay journalists, can be found on Dean’s website.
Maddow did not respond to a request for comment today, but MSNBC issued a terse statement: “This suit is baseless and we stand by our reporting.”
Here’s the original audio of what Dean said:
For more on Bradlee Dean, check out our Minneapolis sister paper’s cover story on him from last week.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2011