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• Kyle Rittenhouse did not file a defamation lawsuit against LeBron James.
• The claim originated on a website that identifies itself as “satire, ridicule and mockery.”
Not long after Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty in the fatal shootings of two people, false claims began circulating that he was taking legal action against others, including CNN and the hosts of the television show "The View."
Now, a viral Facebook post says, "Federal magistrate approves $110 million defamation suit against LeBron James by Kyle Rittenhouse."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Rittenhouse did not file a defamation lawsuit against the basketball star, his spokesperson told the Associated Press. The claim appears to have originated on a website called Potatriots Unite that says it is known for "satire, ridicule and mockery."
Rittenhouse was acquited Nov. 19 on homicide and other charges in a 2020 shooting that left two people dead and a third wounded. Soon afterward, some pundits began speculating that he may have grounds to sue some news organizations for defamation over their coverage of him.
The fictitious claim that he sued James, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, could be in reference to a tweet by James during Rittenhouse’s trial. Sharing a story that said Rittenhouse cried while testifying, James wrote, "What tears????? I didn’t see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court."
Though the claim originated on a satire website, the Facebook post presented it as genuine news, with the comment, "I'd love to see that trial televised. Break out the popcorn folks, this is going to be the best series you see this year, the parade of lawsuits from Rittenhouse perhaps it might finally shut a few pieholes."
The image shared with the headline in the Facebook post includes a sticker that says "ALLOD," which is another sign of its satirical origins. (It stands for America’s Last Line of Defense, which is part of the same network that publishes made-up stories.)
We rate the claim that Rittenhouse sued James for defamation Pants on Fire!
Associated Press, "Kyle Rittenhouse did not sue LeBron James for defamation," Dec. 2, 2021
Associated Press, "Kyle Rittenhouse hasn’t sued Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar or CNN," Nov. 29, 2021
Facebook post, Dec. 1, 2021
Fox News, "Kyle Rittenhouse could have a defamation lawsuit after media called him racist murderer: Legal experts," Nov. 22, 2021
The New York Times, "Kyle Rittenhouse Acquitted on All Counts," Nov. 19, 2021
PolitiFact, "If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it," May 31, 20217
PolitiFact, "No, Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t sue CNN for $400 million," Dec. 1, 2021
PotatriotsUnite.com, "Federal Magistrate Approves Kyle Rittenhouse’s $110 Million Defamation Suit Against LeBron James," accessed Dec. 2, 2021
Sports Illustrated, "LeBron James on Kyle Rittenhouse Crying During Trial: 'Man Knock It Off!'," Nov. 11, 2021
Twitter post, Nov. 11, 2021
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