Buzzfeed has been forced to apologize following the release of an unconfirmed dossier on President Trump, per Recode.
A Russian tech executive who was mentioned by name in the dossier is suing the website for defamation.
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It’s the first sign that BuzzFeed has encountered serious repercussions for publishing a 35-page dossier of unverified accusations about alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russian intelligence.
Aleksej Gubarev, the CEO of XBT Holding, a Luxembourg-based web hosting company, sued BuzzFeed and Ben Smith, its editor-in-chief, for publishing the document.
Gubarev is named at the end of the document, which said he was “recruited under duress” to help Russian intelligence services and became a “significant player” in Russian hacking operations.Gubarev’s company sued BuzzFeed and Smith in Florida, where XBT’s Webzilla subsidiary is based. It also filed a suit in London against former British spy Christopher Steele, who allegedly created the dossier.
The lawsuits have been filed following Buzzfeed’s publishing a dossier supposedly prepared by political opposition during the 2016 election.
President Trump responded to the release of the dossier (which was first covered by CNN) by referring to Buzzfeed as “a failing pile of garbage.”
An attorney representing Gubarev said of Buzzfeed’s recent apology:
“The financial damages my clients have suffered are extensive”, he wrote in an e-mail.
He noted that the apology would in no way affect his client’s desire to move forward with the suit.