Welcome to the Monday edition of Internet Insider, unfurling online threads of misinformation—one dumb conspiracy theory at a time.
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ONE DUMB CONSPIRACY
Conspiracy theorists believe Kyle Rittenhouse is suing Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg
A claim has been circulating across social media recently that Kyle Rittenhouse—who was recently found not guilty of murder after shooting and killing two people and injuring a third during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year—had filed a major lawsuit against two celebrities.
Numerous posts online alleged that Rittenhouse had filed a staggering $60 million defamation suit against Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, two hosts on ABC’s talk show The View.
Not long after, users on Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram began spreading the claim that a lawsuit had been initiated. One tweet promoting the allegation earned over 5,000 shares.
“Kyle Rittenhouse has filed a $60 million defamation lawsuit against the View’s Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg,” @1mZer0Cool wrote. “Let the games begin.”
Another tweet with more than 6,000 shares described the purported lawsuit as the “feel good story of the week.”
A Facebook post regarding the allegation was even viewed more than 540,000 times.
The claim appears to have originated from an article on a website called “Potatriots United.” Ironically, the site repeatedly states that its entire purpose is to ridicule and mock conservatives by spreading satirical claims.
“We’re committed, patriots, to providing you with all the rage you need to keep this kid in your cold, blackened hearts this Christmas season,” the article states.
Potatriots United is part of what’s known as “America’s Last Line of Defense,” a network of satirical sites overseen by self-described liberal troll Christopher Blair.
The column continues below.
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A message on the site’s “About” page once again outlines the purpose of Potatriots United.
“Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real,” the section reads. “If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s attorney, to inquire about the claim.
“Not true,” Richards said.
David Hancock, a spokesperson for the Rittenhouse family, likewise released a statement denying the viral claim.
“None of them are true,” Hancock said. “The Rittenhouse team, Kyle and the rest of his lawyers, have not filed any legal actions against any organizations or any person in particular.”
The claims regarding Goldberg and Behar weren’t the only false stories spread online.
Another Twitter post alleged that Rittenhouse had filed a $400,000 suit against CNN. The official Twitter account for Rittenhouse’s defense fund quickly debunked the claim.
“As of now, the Rittenhouse team has NOT filed any legal actions against media organizations,” the account wrote.
Despite the entire story being debunked, some users refuse to admit that they had been conned. “It isn’t filed yet,” one user said. “But it’s coming.”
While it’s entirely possible that Rittenhouse could file suits in the future, the focus on Goldberg and Behar was nothing more than the work of internet trolls.
—By Mikael Thalen, staff writer