Russell Moore faces lawsuit for libel, false invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress for spreading alleged lies about SBC Pastor Mike Stone.
Mike Stone filed a defamation lawsuit against Russell Moore in US District Court in Nashville Monday, October 18, 2021. Stone claims Moore spread malicious information in retaliation for Stone’s investigation into the ERLC.
According to the lawsuit filing reviewed by the Capstone Report, “Defendant’s malicious campaign against Plaintiff was motivated in part by Defendant’s desire to retaliate against Plaintiff for his service on the aforementioned task force of the Executive Committee and to compromise its investigation into the ERLC by obfuscating pertinent facts.”
Stone claims Russell Moore’s targeted release of two false letters were an intentional action to harm Stone’s reputation prior to the election of the Southern Baptist Convention president.
“The actions of Defendant in orchestrating and propagating an intentional, coordinated, and malicious campaign to defame Plaintiff and cast Plaintiff in a false light before the Southern Baptist community and the public at large have been designed to intentionally inflict mental anguish and severe emotional distress upon Plaintiff, as well as tarnish Plaintiff’s reputation within the religious community and jeopardize Plaintiff’s future earning capacity, through the publication of false and highly offensive material within the SBC, entities affiliated with the SBC, the news media, and elsewhere.
Mike Stone alleges Russell Moore leveraged his position as ERLC head and a well-known evangelical published by Never Trump outlets like the Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN to spread the malicious smear against Mike Stone.
Stone’s lawyers claim in the lawsuit, “Beginning on or about February 24, 2020, within one (1) week of the creation of the aforementioned task force, Defendant began a malicious, intentional, and egregious campaign to harm Plaintiff, including, but not limited to, defaming him within the text of two letters strategically concealed from general distribution within the ERLC and the SBC but then subsequently surreptitiously released, or ‘leaked,’ to the news media which Defendant knew, due to the controversial nature of the letters, Defendant’s prominent position within the ERLC and the religious community at large, and Defendant’s significant connections to major media outlets, would result in their widespread publication. Said letters were then, in fact, subsequently published in Religion News Service, Baptist Press, and several other news media outlets.”
As a result of the allegedly false stories spread by Russell Moore, Stone experienced attacks on social media.
Stone claims, Russell Moore’s “statements regarding Plaintiff have wrongfully directed anger, blame, and frustration towards Plaintiff and damaged Plaintiff’s reputation and business interests.”
Also, Stone’s lawsuit claims, “Since Defendant wrote these harmful statements and disseminated or caused them to be disseminated for public consumption, Plaintiff would show that he has received numerous resentful personal messages through social media which have upset Plaintiff greatly and caused him emotional distress. Plaintiff would show that such messages are the natural and probable consequence of Defendant’s malicious campaign designed to defame Plaintiff and falsely portray Plaintiff as being involved in a clandestine effort to cover up allegations of sexual abuse occurring within the SBC’s affiliate organizations.”
The lawsuit asks for damages and punitive damages.
This raises many questions.
How will Dr. Moore’s false amicus brief filing in the Will McRaney case influence this lawsuit? That is a question that remains to be seen.
Also, will Ronnie Floyd sue Russell Moore? He should. After all, Moore cost Ronnie Floyd that six-figure salary.