The claim: 'The View' settled with Kyle Rittenhouse for $22 million
The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges related to the deaths of two men and injury of a third during 2020 protests prompted an array of false claims – including assertions that the teenager took legal action against statements by public figures including LeBron James and Whoopi Goldberg.
The most recent iteration of such claims involves Goldberg and her fellow co-hosts on ABC's daytime talk show "The View."
“The View Settles With The Rittenhouses For $22 Million and a Formal Apology,” read the headline of an Aug. 2 article on the website We Conservative, which was shared on Facebook more than 3,500 times in two days.
But representatives for both “The View” and Rittenhouse have said claims of a settlement are not true. Rittenhouse never sued "The View" to begin with.
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USA TODAY reached out to the website for comment.
Claim has its origin on satirical website
Representatives for both sides of the supposed lawsuit have said there is no such legal action.
“This claim is false,” ABC spokesperson Lauri Hogan told USA TODAY in an Aug. 3 email.
The We Conservative article attributes the information to Joe Barron, whom it falsely identifies as the Rittenhouse family’s spokesperson. Barron was also cited in a similar claim debunked by USA TODAY in 2021 that said Rittenhouse filed a $60 million lawsuit against “The View” co-hosts Joy Behar and Goldberg.
The family’s actual spokesperson, David Hancock, told the Associated Press in May that claims of a $22 million settlement that were circulating then were false.
Reuters also fact-checked the $22 million settlement claim in June, noting it originated on Dunning-Kruger Times, a part of the America’s Last Line of Defense satirical network. The Dunning-Kruger Times’ “About Us” section says, “Everything on this website is fiction” and that the network is one of “parody, satire, and tomfoolery.”
It's an example of what could be called "stolen satire," where stories written as satire and presented that way originally are reposted in a way that makes them appear to be legitimate news. As a result, readers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here.
Story copied from satirical outlet without attribution
We Conservative’s website includes a description of the site as a “media company for people who have lost trust in the mainstream media.” The website also says it “takes steps to fact-check and verify reports” and “always credit(s) other news outlets when we use materials not produced by our reporting."
The article identifies its reporter as Vernon Stratton, a California-based writer who has covered topics including the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but USA TODAY found no records confirming the existence of such a journalist. The image included next to Stratton's biography appears on various websites going back years, including a United Kingdom workwear company and an online search service for tax professionals.
We Conservative did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that “The View” settled with Rittenhouse for $22 million. Representatives for both “The View” and Rittenhouse have said the claim of a settlement is not true, and that no lawsuit between the parties ever existed.
Our fact-check sources:
North Sea Workwear, accessed Aug. 8, By Profession
Dunning-Kruger Times, accessed Aug. 3, About Us
Dunning-Kruger Times, accessed Aug. 3, The View Settles With The Rittenhouses For $22 Million and a Formal Apology
Lauri Hogan, Aug. 3, Email to USA TODAY
The Associated Press, May 27, ‘The View’ hasn’t settled a lawsuit with Kyle Rittenhouse
USA TODAY, Nov. 30, 2021, Fact check: False claim that Kyle Rittenhouse, lawyers sued 2 hosts of 'The View'
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim Rittenhouse, The View settled for $22 million