Nine-time PGA Tour winner Patrick Reed is threatening CNN with a $450 million lawsuit over defamatory comments made on air about the pro-golfer by anchor Jake Tapper and sportscaster Bob Costas.
Reed’s lawyers argue that the comments were “designed to incite ridicule, hatred, and violence” against their client and other LIV Golf players.
Tapper and Costas publicly smeared Reed for joining the Saudi-backed and Trump-endorsed LIV Golf tour.
A letter from Reed’s attorneys, Klayman’s Law Group, said:
“Late last week, CNN and Jake Tapper, along with CNN’s sports reporter Bob Costas, aired a highly defamatory piece titled ‘The Court Fight Between PGA Tour and LIV Golf Escalates as the Saudi-backed LIV Tries to Avoid Handing Over Information.’
“This widely viewed broadcast in Florida, the nation, and internationally, was not only defamatory but also designed to incite ridicule, hatred, and violence against LIV Golf players, such as my client Patrick Reed, a world champion professional golfer, by publishing that he takes ‘blood money’ from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy twenty-two (22) years ago.
“Mr. Reed is not a taker of ‘blood money,’ as he simply plays on a golf tour financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which also owns large shares in a myriad of American companies such as Disney, Boeing, J.P. Morgan Chase, Amazon, Blackrock Inc., Microsoft, and many others.
“Indeed, many sponsors of the PGA Tour benefit from this investment fund, and PGA Tour players have recently been granted releases by the PGA Tour to play in the Saudi International Golf Tournament in Jeddah, on February 2-5, 2023, also financed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco, the oil company owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, also sponsors and finances a number of LPGA events.
“Are you accusing female professional golfers of also taking ‘blood money?’”
Reed wants an on-air apology from Tapper, Costas, and CNN.
If not, Klayman says his group reserves the right “to sue Tapper, Costas, and CNN pursuant to Florida Statute 770.01 for damages well in excess of $450,000,000 dollars which includes compensatory, actual, special and punitive damages.”
The letter continues:
“At one time, I had known Jake Tapper to a moderately honest journalist and commentator, but after the election of President Donald Trump, he sold his soul to the hierarchy of CNN, then headed by rabid Trump-hater Jeff Zucker.
“Ever since, CNN and Tapper pliantly have been on a crusade to destroy Trump, which crusade apparently appeals to CNN’s generally leftist viewership, and reaps profit for the network.
“Interestingly, a person with the last name Zucker is referenced in the subject broadcast.
“While Jeff Zucker has since been fired at the CEO of CNN over alleged misconduct with a subordinate at CNN, his legacy as a Trump-hater lives on and Tapper continues his unhinged vicious attacks on not just Trump but anyone and anything associated with him, such as LIV Golf, which simply played two events at the former president’s golfing venues in New Jersey and Florida last year, which LIV Golf paid for.”