Fact check: False claim that Kyle Rittenhouse, lawyers sued 2 hosts of 'The View'

·3 min read

The claim: Kyle Rittenhouse filed $60M defamation suit against Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar

After Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the killing of two people during a 2020 protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, misinformation has continued to spread across social media.

This time it's a claim that Rittenhouse is headed back to court – but as a plaintiff, not a defendant.

"Rittenhouses (sic) File $60M Defamation Suit Against Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldgerg (sic)," reads text posted on Facebook Nov. 27 and since deleted.

The post was shared about 400 times in two days, but other versions have accrued thousands of shares within one day.

Several users in the comments celebrated the purported lawsuit.

"I know, isn't it wonderful," one user wrote.

"So great. Hope he gets every dime," another one commented.

But the story is not real, according to Rittenhouse's spokesperson. The narrative originated on a satire website, although it's being shared without that disclaimer.

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USA TODAY reached out to the poster for comment.

Claim started on satire website

Facebook is not the only place where the story has caught people's attention. The claim also gained traction on Twitter, where one post was retweeted more than 1,400 times as of Nov. 29.

Mark Richards, Rittenhouse's lead defense attorney during the trial, told USA TODAY in an email there hasn't been any legal action filed on behalf of Rittenhouse.

The family's spokesperson, David Hancock, also told the Associated Press the claim was false.

"The Rittenhouse team, Kyle and the rest of his lawyers, have not filed any legal actions against any organizations or any person in particular," Hancock told the news outlet.

Some versions of the post shared on social media are a screenshot of an article from the website PotatriotsUnite.com, where it appears the claim originated.

The article, which is filed under the category "Weird Hero Fetish Satire," inaccurately identifies the family's spokesperson as Joe Barron, whom USA TODAY found no record of existing. The claim is solely based on Barron confirming the existence of the purported lawsuit.

However, the article and website are satirical.

The website has a clear satire disclaimer in its heading, which reads "for satire, ridicule and mockery." And on its "About Us" page it states that "everything on this website is fiction."

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This is an example of what could be called "stolen satire," where stories written as satire and presented that way originally are captured via screenshot and reposted in a way that makes them appear to be legitimate news.

As a result, readers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Kyle Rittenhouse filed a $60 million defamation suit against Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar. Rittenhouse's spokesperson confirmed neither Rittenhouse, his family nor his team of lawyers have filed a lawsuit. The claim appears to have originated on a satirical website, though it's being shared without a disclaimer noting that.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar not sued by Kyle Rittenhouse

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