NEW YORK, NY – Physician and biochemist Robert Wallace Malone, one of the developers of the mRNA technology that is the basis for today’s coronavirus vaccines, has threatened a lawsuit against the New York Times (NYT) in response to their recent article labeling him the “latest COVID misinformation star.”
Malone, who has been accused by some of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, announced the potential lawsuit to his email newsletter subscribers on Friday. The email contained a copy of correspondence sent from Malone’s attorney, Steven S. Biss, to NYT Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, David E. McCraw, author of the offending article, Davey Alba, and essentially anyone else involved (“unknown editors and publishers”).
Biss alleges that Alba’s NYT article about Malone – entitled “The Latest COVID Misinformation Star Says He Invented the Vaccines” and published on April 3 – contains “defamation, defamation by implication and insulting words” as well as “false and defamatory statements of fact.”
“The Article ascribes to Dr. Malone conduct, characteristics and conditions, including, without limitation, intent to deceive and defraud, misinformation, disinformation, grifting and financial exploitation, that would adversely affect his fitness to be a medical professional and to conduct the business of a medical doctor,” Biss said.
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Among the alleged “false and defamatory statements” contained in the article, according to Biss, includes the following (taken verbatim from his correspondence to NYT):
- The headline misrepresents that Dr. Malone is the “Latest Covid Misinformation Star” and further states that “[e]ven two years into the pandemic, new misinformation stars are being minted”;
- The Article falsely accuses Dr. Malone of “spreading unfounded claims about the vaccines and the virus”;
- The Article falsely states that “in recent months, as the coronavirus pandemic has persisted, he has taken up an entirely different role: spreading misinformation about the virus and vaccines on conservative programs”; The Article misrepresents that “Dr. Malone joins medical professionals and scientists, like Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Judy Mikovits, whose profiles have grown during the pandemic as they spread misinformation about mask-wearing and convoluted conspiracy theories about virus experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci”;
- The Article misrepresents that “Dr. Malone has twisted legitimate policy debates to use them as cover for continuing to spread misinformation and to advance claims about the pandemic that are demonstrably incorrect”;
- “Robert Malone is exploiting the fact that data-driven course correction is inherent to the scientific process to peddle disinformation. It’s extraordinarily dishonest and morally bankrupt”.
In addition to the alleged false statements, Biss also stated that the article “misrepresents Dr. Malone’s credentials, role and achievements in the development of mRNA technology and vaccines.”
“NYT and Alba’s false and defamatory statements injured Dr. Malone’s reputation and business. Dr. Malone’s reputation as a medical professional has been severely compromised,” Biss said. “Demand is hereby made for an immediate public retraction of the false and defamatory statements in the Article, a written apology, and compensation for the presumed and actual damages suffered by Dr. Malone, including the insult, pain, humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering and injury to his reputation.”
NYT and its agents are hereby on NOTICE that Dr. Malone contends that the statements in the Article are false and defamatory. Nunes v. Lizza, 12 F. 4th 890, 901 (8th Cir. 2021) (“‘Republication of a statement after the defendant has been notified that the plaintiff contends that it is false and defamatory may be treated as evidence of reckless disregard.’ Restatement (Second) of Torts § 580A cmt. d (Am. L. Inst. 1977).
The NYT has yet to publicly respond to Malone’s threatened lawsuit.