Fox News, Newsmax Sued for Falsely Linking Man to Neo-Nazi Killer

Fox News, Newsmax, and Univision, along with a host of far-right podcasters and social-media influencers, were sued last month for wrongly identifying a man as the neo-Nazi shooter who killed eight people last year in Texas.Mauricio Garcia, a 36-year-old man from Texas, suddenly saw a picture of him plastered online and during news broadcasts last

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Fox News, Newsmax, and Univision, along with a host of far-right podcasters and social-media influencers, were sued last month for wrongly identifying a man as the neo-Nazi shooter who killed eight people last year in Texas.

Mauricio Garcia, a 36-year-old man from Texas, suddenly saw a picture of him plastered online and during news broadcasts last May after a man with the same name went on a shooting spree in an Allen outlet mall. Garcia is now suing the outlets and individuals who shared his photo and falsely linked him to the deadly shooting.

In addition to the cable and broadcast networks named in the complaint, filed late last month in Travis County, Garcia is also suing right-wing podcast hosts Steven Crowder and Tim Pool, Infowars host Owen Shroyer, political media gadfly Simon Ateba, and celebrity blog Hollywood Unlocked. HuffPost first reported the lawsuit on Friday.

“In their haste to cash in on the eagerness of viewers and readers to learn the identity of the May 6, 2src23 mass shooter at the outlet mall in Allen, Texas, several media organizations recklessly disregarded basic journalistic safeguards and published the photo of an innocent man, branding him as a neo-Nazi murderer to his local community and the nation at large,” the lawsuit alleges.

Garcia is represented in the suit by attorney Greg Adler and Mark Bankston, who is best known for representing two Sandy Hook parents in their successful defamation case against Infowars conspiracist Alex Jones. Besides Garcia, he is also currently representing a 22-year-old Jewish student who is suing X owner Elon Musk for falsely accusing him of engaging in a neo-Nazi riot.

“In short, each of these media outlets recklessly portrayed our client as a neo-Nazi mass murderer, and each of them have shown him nothing but disrespect,” Bankston declared on social media on Friday. “That is something we cannot accept. We will not allow media organizations to falsely accuse an innocent man of being a neo-Nazi mass murderer without being held accountable. We’ll see them in court.”

On May 6, 2src23, Mauricio Martinez Garcia, 33, opened fire at the Allen Premium Outlet mall, killing five adults and three children while injuring seven others. The shooter wore a tactical vest with a “Right Wing Death Squad” patch and had swastika and Nazi SS tattoos. By the following day, it was revealed that he had extensively shared white supremacist beliefs online, and his name and date of birth were shared by law enforcement.

At the same time, images of the plaintiff that had been sourced to a mugshot site were shared on social media, seemingly in an effort by right-wing trolls to push back on the narrative that the shooter was a far-right extremist and neo-Nazi.

Pool, the beanie-clad right-wing talker who hosts the Timcast podcast, repeatedly shared a photo of the plaintiff during his daily show and asserted that claims the gunman was a white supremacist was a government-run misinformation campaign. “You see, here’s where we get into the psyop. No one knows if this Russian social media profile is actually —actually belongs to this guy… Now the photos that are coming out … They don’t show his face,” Pool declared.

After Timcast reporter Josie Glabach, also known as “The Redheaded Libertarian,” repeated that the shooting was a “psy-op” and Bellingcat’s Aric Toler, who uncovered much of the shooter’s social-media activity, was “a CIA operative,” Musk amplified Glabach’s claims and repeatedly insisted the gunman’s identity was a lie.

“Despite Plaintiff’s demand, Timcast Media Group, Inc. refused to publish a retraction within 3src days,” the complaint states. “Indeed, despite acknowledging Plaintiff’s demand and deleting the articles, no retraction has ever been published.”

Shroyer, who has served jail time for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, aired the plaintiff’s photo on his Infowars show and stated: “They’re the ones who call a Hispanic man a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi. His name was Mauricio Garcia, your neo-Nazi [laugh] white supremacist. But we know now, this is the Leftist logic, we know now that it actually has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with politics. Don’t you know?”

On his Louder with Crowder podcast, Crowder aired an image of the plaintiff as the gunman. In an article on his site, the author claimed that he was going against his general standard of showing images of mass murderers because “the media refuses to” show the shooter’s photo, sarcastically calling the plaintiff the “new face of white supremacy.”

The lawsuit notes that neither Shroyer nor Crowder responded to demands for retraction.

Newsmax hosts Eric Bolling and Greg Kelly, meanwhile, extensively shared images of the plaintiff as the shooter during their shows, pointing to Garcia’s Chicano heritage as proof that the gunman couldn’t have been motivated by white nationalism. “Look: this is not a white supremacist,” the MAGA host Kelly fumed. He also falsely tied the plaintiff to a gang, according to the lawsuit.

While Newsmax did issue a correction and retraction prior to receiving a demand from the plaintiff, the network is still named in the complaint. “Nonetheless, Plaintiff sent a demand letter to Newsmax giving notice of the location, date, and nature of the false publications, along with an explanation of their falsity,” the lawsuit alleges. “Plaintiff now seeks damages for libel based on those false publications on The Balance with Eric Bolling and Greg Kelly Reports.”

Fox News is accused of publishing the erroneous photo in an online article about the shooter and failing to issue a correction when asked. “Fox News Network, LLC refused to publish a retraction within 3src days,” the complaint notes. “Indeed, no retraction has ever been published. Fox completely ignored Plaintiff and never responded.”

As for Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster is alleged to have featured an image of the plaintiff as the gunman multiple times across its primetime news shows, including during anchor Jorge Ramos’ broadcast.

“After hearing from a neighbor that my client’s image was shown on Univision, my client’s mother contacted a local Univision reporter, who told her that she would inform management immediately, but nobody ever reached out,” Bankston wrote on Friday. “Even worse, when my co-counsel Greg Adler and I provided a demand letter, Univision initially denied that it had broadcast our client’s image on its primetime shows.”

A TelevisaUnivision spokesperson declined to comment about the lawsuit. All other media outlets and individuals did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Garcia is asking for at least $1 million in his libel lawsuit.

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