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Sherrod vs. Breitbart

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Sherrod, who is being represented by Kirkland and Ellis, faults Breitbart with posting an intentionally misleading clip of her speech on one of his sites. In the posted excerpt of Sherrod's speech, she discusses her reluctance to help a poor white farmer because of his race. However, when the NAACP released the full speech it became obvious that the Obama administration had acted too quickly in regards to Sherrod's forced resignation. As it turns out, Sherrod was actually using her story to explain the importance of overcoming biases and helping all in need. According to the lawsuit, Breibart was angry with the NAACP for accusing the tea party of racism so he posted the edited clip in an effort to demonstrate that racism exists within the NAACP.

However, Sherrod denies that the lawsuit has anything to do with race or political affiliation. According to Sherrod, it is actually about how easily someone's reputation can be ruined in today's internet society. But many question whether Sherrod's case will hold any weight in court. If the court concludes that Sherrod is a public figure, she may have trouble proving that either ''actual malice'' or ''reckless disregard'' were at play in this case. If the court decides that she is to be viewed as a private citizen, she will have a much easier time proving her case, as she will only have to prove negligence on the part of the media source.


The lawsuit asks Breitbart to remove the abbreviated clip of Sherrod's speech from his site and to issue an apology. The lawsuit also asks for unspecified damages. Sherrod did receive an apology from the White House and an offer for a higher level job within the Department of Agriculture, but she turned the offer down. It is doubtful though, that she will be receiving an apology from Breitbart as readily. In a statement released by his company, Breitbart suggests that the lawsuit is an effort by the Left to hinder his right to free speech. He goes on to say that he will not be silenced. The first hearing is set for May 13, 2011.

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