‘Not an anti-vaxxer’: Joseph Arthur seeks $25M in damages from LA Times for damaging his career

The defamation lawsuit claims that the LA Times endangered Arthur’s infant son by publishing a photo of the two in the article

‘Not an anti-vaxxer’: Joseph Arthur seeks $25M in damages from LA Times for damaging his career
Joseph Arthur performs 'The Man Who Sold the World' onstage at The Music Of David Bowie at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2016, in New York City (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Times for allegedly falsely labeling him as an anti-vaxxer in an article that the renowned media outlet did on the musician. Arthur has been quite vocal about his hatred toward the Covid-19 vaccine and has always questioned the safety of the aforementioned vaccine through his social media accounts.

The defamation lawsuit filed on Wednesday, August 10, alleged that the article written by the newspaper made him look bad and turned out to be disastrous for his professional life. The suit also alleged that the comments made in the story were “instantly understood to convey a defamatory meaning, including that Arthur is an anti-vaxxer, spreading disinformation.” On the other hand, the musician, in the suit, claimed that he has never been anti-vaccine and accused LA Times of lying because he had already told them he isn’t “anti-vaccine” prior to the interview.

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The court papers obtained by Variety also included screenshots of a text exchange between the singer and a Times reporter in which he wrote that he is not an “anti-vaxxer." However, he also noted that he is “anti this experimental shot” that is “completely ineffective against the spread of the virus."

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Joseph Arthur performs onstage during The Music Of David Byrne & Talking Heads at Carnegie Hall on March 23, 2015 in New York City.
Joseph Arthur performs onstage during The Music Of David Byrne & Talking Heads at Carnegie Hall on March 23, 2015, in New York City (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The lawsuit stated, “Arthur’s prescient statements about the COVID-19 vaccines were 100% factually accurate. The Article impugned Arthur’s professional integrity and exposed him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy as someone who was against all vaccines. The publication caused him to be shunned and avoided. The Article severely injured Arthur in his occupation as a musician, leading directly to the cancellation of multiple gigs.”

The court papers also said that Arthur has faced a lot of “humiliation” and “emotional suffering” due to the article and it also diminished “Arthur’s earning capacity.” Most importantly, the defamation lawsuit also claims that the LA Times endangered Arthur’s infant son by publishing a photo of the two. The suit reads, “By prominently inserting a photograph in the Article of Arthur holding his newborn baby, LA Times intended and endorsed the false and defamatory implication, and implied that Arthur was endangering his child, his family, indeed all of society.”

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People associated with the far-right group America First attend an anti-vaccine protest in front of Pfizer world headquarters on November 13, 2021 in New York City. A U.S. Circuit Court granted an emergency stay to temporarily stop the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers as many feel it is an unlawful overreach.
People associated with the far-right group America first attended an anti-vaccine protest in front of Pfizer world headquarters on November 13, 2021, in New York City. A U.S. Circuit Court granted an emergency stay to temporarily stop the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers as many feel it is an unlawful overreach (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

However, Arthur’s social media posts about vaccines have always been controversial. Even though the lawsuit claims Arthur has never “made fraudulent statements about the COVID-19 vaccines on his Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook accounts”, Rolling Stone noted that at least three posts that were made by the musician regarding Covid-19 and vaccines were labeled “false” by the platform’s fact-checking feature. Last year, he even came out with a song titled ‘Stop the Shot’ to protest against vaccines. Arthur is seeking damages of $25 million.

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