You may recall that “American Sniper” author and ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was sued for defamation after going on The O’Reilly Factor and claiming that he decked fellow SEAL Jesse Ventura for “bad mouthing” President Bush, the Iraq war and America. Naturally, Fox Newsies jumped to Kyle’s defense. But yesterday, a jury felt differently.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Ventura was not named in the book, but was alluded to in a chapter called “Punching Out Scruff Face,” about a confrontation with a celebrity inside a California bar in 2006. In interviews after the book’s release, Mr. Kyle said he was referring to Mr. Ventura.
In testimony, Mr. Ventura acknowledged that he had been inside the bar, a place that was frequented by special Navy units like the SEALs, but he denied claims that he had said the SEALs deserved “to lose a few,” as Mr. Kyle wrote. Mr. Kyle also wrote that he had punched Mr. Ventura; Mr. Ventura said that never occurred.
Mr. Kyle was fatally shot in Texas last year after Mr. Ventura filed suit, but jurors saw a videotaped deposition from Mr. Kyle, who defended his writings. After Mr. Kyle’s death, Mr. Ventura continued the lawsuit, pursuing Mr. Kyle’s estate, for which his widow, Taya, serves as executor. Mr. Ventura said he never would have gone to court had Mr. Kyle admitted that he had made up the story of the bar fight and just apologized. As it was, Mr. Ventura testified to jurors here, a lawsuit was the only choice, adding, “I was handcuffed.”
Ventura was awarded $1.8 million.
Fox News talking heads cheered on Kyle and attacked Ventura from the start.
Eric Bolling reacted to Kyle’s story of decking Ventura by saying, “Good for you. Fantastic. Thumbs up.” Brian Kilmeade called it, Kyle’s “greatest takedown ever.” Greg Gutfeld called Ventura “a giant boob.” Kimberly Guilfoyle retorted, “Don’t give boobs a bad name.” Bill O’Reilly announced, “I tend to believe Kyle’s telling the truth… I think he is.”
To his credit, O’Reilly accepted the verdict last night and explained why he thought Ventura won. However, the two Fox News lawyers with him, Lis Wiehl and Fox’s biggest suck up, Guilfoyle, denounced it.
You can watch their reactions below.
Also, if I recall correctly, Bill O’Reilly says the same thing in this clip.