After a Arizona Mirror An article about Arizona US Senate candidate Blake Masters’ views on contraception went viral this week, with the venture capitalist now threatening to take legal action against the outlet.
“If I have free time after winning my election, you get sued,” Masters wrote on Twitter Monday. “Gawker found out the hard way and so do you.” He attached a letter from his lawyers promising that a libel suit was pending.
Masters is vying for the Republican nomination in a competitive race for the U.S. Senate, hoping to oust incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly. The field of candidates includes several other prominent Republicans, such as current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon.
Over the weekend, Masters found itself in a media storm, in part due to a short article from shimmer on the teachers’ point of view on contraception. The article, published May 6, was titled, “GOP Senate Candidate Blake Masters Wants to Allow States to Ban Birth Control Use.
the Shimmer’s the reports were based largely on a statement own website. In a section detailing his position on abortion, Masters announced that he promised to only support federal judges “who understand that deer and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided and that there is no constitutional right to abortion.”
Roe vs. Wade and Family planning c. Casey are two cases that deal only with the right to abortion. But Griswold v. Connecticutas the shimmer noted, protected the right to purchase and use contraceptives without government intervention. To like deerthe case was based on a “right to privacy,” a concept not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution, but which the justices inferred from due process rights.
Masters didn’t elaborate on his views on contraception on the website, other than the line claiming the case was wrongly decided. Since shimmer wrote his article, the section appears to have been edited to remove Griswold from the list, leaving only deer and Casey.
The attorneys for the masters wrote in their letter to the shimmer that the idea that he supported a ban on contraception was “absolutely false”. They also claimed that if “Blake believes Griswold v. Connecticut was ill-decided,” this did not mean that he advocated banning contraception as a policy.
the shimmerhowever, didn’t say outright that Masters was advocating a total ban – just that he “believes judges should also aim for the right to purchase and use contraception”, based on his public stance on Griswold.
the shimmerThe report came at a pivotal time for abortion and contraceptive rights in the country. The leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court, which showed the High Court is set to overturn Roe vs. Wade in its deliberations on a Mississippi case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationsparked protests across the country.
And many have speculated that if deer is overturned, the legal rights to contraception and same-sex marriage may soon be challenged as well, since they are based on the same idea of the right to privacy.
The article about Masters’ views on contraception quickly went viral. It also prompted some sensationalist reporting, such as an article taking some liberties with the shimmerreport. Its headline read, “Arizona GOP Senate Candidate Wants to Ban Condoms in All States.
On Twitter, this article and others have racked up tens of thousands of shares and likes. The masters campaign was forced into damage control.
On Monday afternoon, Masters posted the letter warning that a libel suit was coming. the shimmerwho published prominent stories about extremism within the Arizona Republican Party, had a “history of defaming conservatives”, the lawyers claimed.
Of note, Masters invoked the lawsuit against Gawker, a tabloid-style news site that was forced to shut down for years after losing a lawsuit over its publication of the Hulk Hogan sex tape. This lawsuit was funded by Peter Thiel, a billionaire and tech mogul, who has spent millions in litigation against Gawker over the years.
Now Thiel is pouring some of his millions in the Masters campaign in Arizona.
In the letter, Masters claimed his views on contraception had been misrepresented and the reporter had not given the campaign a chance to respond.
The masters also disputed a line in the shimmer‘s report which discussed Masters’ “past praise for the Unabomber and Hermann Goering”, citing other media reports. Masters’ lawyers argued that Masters never praised Goering, merely quoting him from an old essay. (They did not dispute that the Masters said that “everyone should read” the Unabomber manifesto.)
Dan Barr, a media law attorney, said Phoenix new times that he doubted any potential lawsuit would have much merit and would be quickly thrown out by a judge. More likely, he said, the letter was just a “publicity stunt.”
“It’s a very difficult standard to set,” Barr said after winning a libel suit against the press for an article like the shimmer‘s. “I doubt he can make it.”
Masters is represented, according to the letter, by Kory Langhofer of the Phoenix-based law firm Statecraft. Langhofer made a name for himself as an advocate for Republican Party bigwigs. He worked as a lawyer for former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, as well as former US Senator Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Some Masters critics also noted the irony that the candidate, whose website boasts that he is a supporter of free speech, was now threatening a legal crackdown on the press.
In an email to new times, Campaign spokeswoman Amalia Halikias provided a short statement from Masters, who said “defamation is not free speech” and “if I was a journalist, I would just tell the truth, instead to maliciously defame people”.
the Arizona Mirror did not publish any corrections to the story. David Bodney, a lawyer for the publication, wrote in a statement that “we have contacted Mr. Masters’ lawyer to address his concerns informally, but have not yet received a response.”