Kyle Rittenhouse announced his initiative to hold media outlets, celebrities, politicians and others accountable for defamation against his name with the “Media Accountability Project.” Here are some things you should know:
Let’s start simple so we are all on the same page here!
In other words, suing for “defamation” is when one party holds another accountable for a severe impact on their reputation, character or overall way of life. Typically, the person suing is seeking to clear their name and/or gain financial reward in exchange for damages caused.
Next, who is Kyle Rittenhouse and why have you been hearing his name so frequently?
Rittenhouse, 19, has become well known across the nation for his controversial trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he was acquitted of all charges against him—despite killing two men and injuring a third.
The obvious controversy in the case is the shooting of three people, with two resulting in death, but the plot thickens when race, protests and a minor’s possession of a weapon are thrown into the mixture.
Rittenhouse was 17-years-old when he traveled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Aug. 25, 2020, in response to pleas on social media to protect businesses during protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer two days earlier, according to AP News.
While in Kenosha, Rittenhouse marched the streets with other protestors carrying rifles to help protect and defend local businesses that, they felt, were threatened by ongoing riots in response to the police killing of Jacob Blake—this was just one month after the notorious George Floyd case.
Tension was high, as I am sure you remember, as our country battled in constant division with one another regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, government mandates, systemic racism, presidential Twitter bans, red vs. blue, black vs. white, looting, toilet paper shortages, etc.
Important information about the Rittenhouse trial:
All three men he shot were white. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed. Gaige Grossreutz, 27, was shot in the arm and lived; he later testified that he lost 90% of his right bicep from the injury, according to NPR.
Rittenhouse used an AR-style semiautomatic rifle
All seven charges against Rittenhouse were dropped. AP News identifies and describes the seven charges here, and there is a link at the bottom of the page with fantastic, informative coverage of the trial from start to finish.
Rittenhouse was acquitted and walked free Nov. 19, 2021
Why is he #trending again?
Since his acquittal, the now 19-year-old, has remained active on social media—sporting a whopping 189 thousand Instagram followers—accepted interview requests with FOX News’ Tucker Carlson and Pete Hugseth and has stirred the pot a few times with things, such as asking for the gun he used in the shootings to be returned to him.
Rittenhouse is today’s #TrendingTuesday because he has just announced the “Media Accountability Project.” The goal, he claims, is to raise money for legal challenges against outlets and celebrities that he will be suing for defamation of his name.
People of all backgrounds are responding to the announcement. Some with rage and disgust; others with profound support.
While nothing has officially been acted on at this moment, the conversation around Rittenhouse's trial continues to leave people divided. These arguments include, but are not limited to, varying gun laws by state, the skin color of the person shooting the gun, what the court allowed to be used during trial and white supremacy accusations toward Rittenhouse.