Jeann Lugo Should Consider Suing Bill Bartholomew for Defamation

Justin Katz called it early.  Bill Bartholomew’s extremely clipped video of Jeann Lugo striking Jennifer Rourke at the State House melee Friday night is a serious disservice to the truth.

Bartholomew’s clipped video doesn’t show what happened leading up to that moment.

So you don’t see Jennifer Rourke laying hands on Jeann Lugo.  Without his consent, in a harmful and offensive manner.

You don’t see Rourke pulling on Lugo repeatedly, impeding him from protecting a victim of assault.

You don’t see that Lugo is faced away from Rourke most of the time, focused on protecting someone, so has no idea who is pulling on him and impeding him – has no idea their identity; their gender; their race.

You don’t see that he turns and “neutralizes” – strikes – whoever is stopping him from protecting the assault victim without noticing or caring about their identity; their gender; their race.

Now more video has surfaced – this one, for example, taken by WPRO’s Tom Quinlan – where we can see all of this for ourselves.

But it is way too late now.  What quickly circulated nationally thanks to Bartholomew’s very clipped video is the completely false story that a man struck a woman; a white cop struck a black person; a male candidate for public office struck his female opponent – out of the blue, for no reason.

Bartholomew has repeatedly stated, by way of trying to exonerate himself from posting the very clipped, very inaccurate video, that he posted his own full video of the incident on his Twitter feed. Yeah, it’s there.  If you spend the time to dig back far enough, you’ll find it.

Fascinating that Bartholomew chose to pin the extremely clipped rather than the full video to the top of his Twitter feed.

And far from exonerating him, the existence of his full video actually incriminates him.  Because what he could have done is shared his full video with a comment along the lines, “At minute XX:XX, it appears @JeannCLugo strikes his Senate opponent @JenRourke29”.

That would have been honest and helpful.  That would have permitted the world to see the whole incident, including what led up to Lugo striking Rourke.

Instead, Bartholomew created a video so short and so inaccurate, it is a lie.  And the “lie” went viral, was picked up by every news outlet under the sun, was viewed millions of times and thereby created a false narrative of what happened.

Of course, Jeann Lugo should press assault charges against Jennifer Rourke.  As should the man whom she is clearly seen shoving in the video.

But Jeann Lugo should also sue Bill Bartholomew for defamation.  Bartholomew’s extremely clipped video has seriously endangered Lugo’s opportunity for justice.  And it is clearly grounds for a defamation suit because it has harmed his reputation and cast him personally in a negative light by creating a completely false narrative of the incident that night.

I would further argue that Lugo actually has an obligation to file suit because such litigation is a righteous and powerful way of discouraging the future creation of such false, harmful videos, particularly by people who reach for stepped up credibility by conferring on themselves the title of Journalist – something that, remarkably, Bill Bartholomew does.

[Featured Image Credit: screenshot from Tom Quinlan’s video of the melee.]

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Justin Katz
1 year ago

What continues to shock and discourage is that no news media in RI or around the world will care. They had their clip; they got their narrative; and to the extent that the story no longer fits, they’ll just move on to the next thing.

PBS and WPRO should cut ties with Bartholomew, but they won’t.

Phil Spadola
Phil Spadola
Reply to  Justin Katz
1 year ago

I didn’t see anything definite in your video about the actions of Lugo or Rourke. I have two observations. One is that sadly the truth takes a backseat in this hyper partisan environment that is growing worse by the day. Second I find fault with those counter protesters for agitating a crowd already upset with the recent Supreme Court decision. An off duty police officer thought it was a good idea to attend a potentially volatile situation to do what? It sounds as though he regrets his actions according to his comments to the press. Lastly, notice the presence of on duty police officers shoving people in your video. It is obvious that things escalated rather quickly. Their presence also provides investigators with impressions that may cast light on the situation.

Liberty Quahog
Liberty Quahog
Reply to  Justin Katz
1 year ago

what is shocking how the media continues to ignore the truth and facts about that night. The independent media who was there legally, wrongly identified & labeled. The event organizers Jen & Emily took matters into their own hands. Thusly cause a mobbing situation where the independent journalists was being hit and screamed at from all directions being forced to leave a public place with no legitimate or legal justifications to do so. Instead Emily & Jen both provoke the situation. The journalist makes his way to the safest exit route to become blindsided and then kick and punched in the head and face. For nothing. The media instead locks on to a narrative of man hits woman, save the cops job and all playing off theses false narratives. Has anyone questioned the true assault victim? Has anyone gotten upset the assailant is free and remains unidentified?
How about the long term injuries the assault victim is still suffering from?
How about the blatant lies and misinformation being spread.
Such as there wasn’t any “counter protests”
No freedom fighting antagonists.
No one engaged the crowd or the speakers.
Again false and defamatory narratives
There is no Lugo & Jenn without the truth and facts about what happened leading up to it. Otherwise you have an assault with a cause.

Liberty Quahog
Liberty Quahog
Reply to  Monique Chartier
1 year ago

Doesn’t appear my last post made it.
However, that’s Correct. No ID, No arrests.
Even with the technology of today.

Liberty Quahog
Liberty Quahog
Reply to  Monique
1 year ago

True puzzling. For us troubling & discouraging.

Liberty Quahog
Liberty Quahog
Reply to  Justin Katz
1 year ago

Apply some public pressure. Hold them accountable too. See how quickly they might change their respective minds…

1 year ago

[…] strongly reiterate my suggestions […]

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