BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho judge has ruled that a liberal-leaning magazine did not defame one of Idaho’s wealthiest people in an article that said the businessman outed a local reporter as gay.
Fourth District Judge Darla Williamson tossed out Frank VanderSloot’s lawsuit against Mother Jones magazine on Tuesday.
VanderSloot, the CEO of health care products company Melaleuca and a prominent donor to Republican candidates and conservative causes, sued Mother Jones two years ago, contending that a 2012 article about him and a tweet promoting the article were false and prompted national criticism.
In her ruling, Williamson wrote that some of the statements VanderSloot took issue with were “substantially true” and others — including a description of VanderSloot as “gay-bashing” — were open to such a wide spectrum of interpretation that they could not be proven true or false. She also said the statements were opinions and so can’t be held as defamatory.
Still, the judge said she was troubled by Mother Jones’ reporting style, which she said was biased.
VanderSloot says he’s pleased that the judge found the reporting was biased, and he’s created a $1 million fund to defend conservatives against media outlets that he considers to be liberal.
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