WASHINGTON (CN) – Washington Redskins owned Daniel Snyder accused the Washington City Paper of “recklessly printing lies” to “smear and malign” his reputation.
Snyder has been a frequent target of criticism from fans and media since he bought the team in 1999, and his regular quarterback switches did not rescue the team from a losing record. He claims that a 2009 cover story by Dave McKenna falsely accused him of forging names as a telemarketer, cutting down federally protected trees to give himself a better view of the Potomac River, and of being thrown off the Six Flags’ board of directors.
In his Superior Court complaint, Snyder addressed each of the “heinous deeds” of which he says the weekly paper accused him.
He claims that the publisher has since admitted that there is no reason to believe Snyder “got caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications.” He claims that reports that he improved the view from his house “by going all Agent Orange on federally protected lands” have been publicly corrected.
And he says claims that he was thrown off the Six Flags board are also bunk, which the Wall Street Journal disproved “with the most basic fact checking.”
Snyder says the defamatory statements were magnified by the cover art.
“Not content with mere lies, however, the Washington City Paper added insult to injury. In its cover art, the Washington City Paper depicted the Jewish Mr. Snyder in a blatantly anti-Semitic way, complete with horns, bushy eyebrows, and dollar signs. This is precisely the type of imagery used historically, including in Nazi Germany, to dehumanize and vilify the Jewish people and to associate them with a litany of libels over the past 2,000 years,” Snyder says.
He claims the paper and McKenna have being trying to “smear his business and personal reputation through the publication of false and malicious articles” since 2009.
“The Washington City Paper’s willingness to print these articles displays an absolute disregard for fact-checking and the truth, and McKenna’s reckless disregard for the truth is contrary to every standard of journalism,” according to the complaint.
He says another recent article “went so far as to denigrate the public role of Mr. Snyder’s wife, a breast cancer survivor, as the National Football League’s national spokeswoman on breast cancer awareness.”
Snyder, who owns the Redskins, RedZone Capital Management, and a line of radio stations under the umbrella of Red Zebra Broadcasting, says he is a philanthropist who has donating to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism, Hurricane Katrina and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
He seeks punitive damages from the Washington City Paper, its parent companies Creative Loafing and CL Washington, and “principal columnist” McKenna.
Snyder says he will donate any damages he gets to “groups that are devoted to assisting the homeless.”
He is represented by Richard Smith with McDermott Will.