One of the prominent leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, DeRay Mckesson, is suing Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro over inflammatory comments she made on air, alleging Mckesson directed protesters to attack a police officer at a July 2016 demonstration. Mckesson says Pirro made these comments on an episode of Fox & Friends on September 28 while discussing a lawsuit filed by a police officer against BLM.
TMZ reports that DeRay says Pirro outright accused him of inciting the violence, saying, “You’ve got a police officer who was injured, he was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson." Mckesson believes Pirro knew her comments were false and defamatory at the time she made them, and that she has both endangered him and compromised his reputation as an activist.
Mckesson had been arrested at the demonstration, which was held to protest the excessive force used by police in the Alon Sterling shooting days earlier. As news of Mckesson being taking into custody spread, a number of celebrities took to social media to protest his arrest. A federal judge later dismissed the lawsuit against Black Lives Matter and Mckesson, ruling DeRay was exercising his right to free speech. In a clip from the Fox & Friends episode, Pirro questioned the legitimacy of ruling, and blames it on the fact that the judge was appointed by President Obama.
Fox News stated to TMZ, "We informed Mr. McKesson's counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously.”