Wednesday, March 25, 2020

PA Radio: Judge Tosses Broadcaster's Defamation Suit

Dave Reilly
A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by former WHLM 930 AM Bloomsburg PA broadcaster David Reilly, saying it failed to prove defamation or “false light” portrayal of the local radio personality as a racist after he attended the 2017 “Alt-Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Judge David E. Grine issued an order in Columbia County Court, granting all preliminary objections to the suit raised by its 17 defendants, including TV stations WBRE and WNEP.

Reilly, 30, asserted that protests over social media postings of video shot at the rally caused advertisers to pull their business from the radio station owned by his father, Joe, and forced him to resign and ruin his prospective broadcasting career.

“Calling someone a racist and a Nazi is not defaming someone?” Reilly said when reached for comment on the dismissal. “It’s a travesty of justice. Justice is dead.”

Lawyers for the defendants, however, countered that personal opinions or reactions to the neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally coverage spread over social media sites do not legally support a defamation action.

Reilly filed the suit in March 2018. He since has moved to South Bend, Indiana, but travels extensively while working for a Catholic non-profit organization, he said.

He said he is staying “pretty busy” and traveling extensively for his work, “doing a little bit of everything,” which took him to Europe for three months. Plans to return to Europe are now up in the air over coronavirus concerns, he said.

He said he strongly believes defendants in the suit had “upended” his life and ruined his career in broadcasting.

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