Another humiliation for Ezra Levant, who last week settled his $95K defamation hair-puller with Justin Ling (Franks passim).
The freelance investigative hack, readers may recall, got slapped with a writ by Lügenpants grudge-caddy Irvin Schein in October 2020. At issue, a sentence and a half uttered on Vancouver’s CKNW radio that August, “certain defamatory statements that you made about our clients,'” with time codes for easy reference:
‘Ezra’s website, the Rebel Media, frequently makes up obscene and sometimes racist and anti-Semitic lies about various politicians.’
‘Rebel, who is outright calling people in the government traitors…’
The context of the radio spot was a Ling buzzkill in the National Post, headlined “Threats to Trudeau and his cabinet up 30% — someone is going to get killed:”
Ling summarily dumped the whole megillah on Twitter:
“The Rebel Media, that bastion of free speech, is threatening me with legal action because I called out the insane and conspiratorial rhetoric they used to go after federal politicians…I tweet this out because I know folks like Ezra have used legal notices like this to scare people. Don’t let him! Legal threats like these can have a really dangerous chilling effect on free expression. Anti-SLAPP laws exist for a reason.”
Ling retained Sandy Lockhart and Andrew Max of Polley Faith LLP. That’s the firm suing Global News for ex-Liberal MP Han Dong over that Sam Cooper scoop alleging he was a “witting” participant in Beijing’s dirty tricks in Ottawa (name one ‘witting’ Liberal backbencher!!—ed.)
With Lockhart and Max working pro bono compared to Irv’s meter running at $725/hour, Levant switched to the more affordable David Elmaleh and Aaron Rosenberg (RE: Law, sometime in-house Rebel counsel).
The terms of this peace, which derails an expected Section 137.1 anti-SLAPP hearing? No money, discontinuance costs on the plaintiff, no apology, not even a confidentiality clause.
Reports that Lügenpants initially demanded Ling cough up $10K to make it all go away are ludicrous in the extreme. Indeed, the way we hear it, the final settlement’s only payout was Ezra’s open-hearted $500 donation to the Red Cross, where they’ll doubtlesss be delighted to hear from the little twat once more.
Readers will recall Rebel Media’s Indiegogo crowdfunder for Fort McMurray fire victims in 2016, which raked in $162K (er, more or less) for the Red Cross.
This selfless philanthropy was lost on Ezra’s legions of social media haters, who accused him of using the disaster as yet another branding opportunity for Rebel, in which Ezra inserted Rebel between the Red Cross and donors instead of just encouraging them to give directly to the charity in the first place.
Among them was Ezra nemesis, Rob “Canadian Cynic” Day, whom Ezra sued for $95K. In audio leaked online (but excluded by anti-SLAPP motion judge Carole Brown), Ezra gloated of having Day in a “five-year trap.”
Disgruntled Rebel UK correspondent Caolan Robertson went public with a recording he made whilst shaking down Levant for severance/hush money. Ezra seemingly suggested he’d sued for reasons quite apart from the defence of his sterling reputation:
“There was a guy in Ottawa who talked about our crowdfunding so I sued him for $95,000. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s just I wanted to send a signal. And fucking this guy here is a five year trap.”
It’s been seven.