Buzzfeed Heads to Mediation with Emma Husar over Allegations of Defamation
The defamation case filed by the Labor MP Emma Husar against Buzzfeed is headed to mediation. The publisher and Labor MP appeared in Federal Court in Sydney recently and both agreed to try mediation before the end of June. Should it prove unsuccessful a trial date will be schedule on June 28th, but both sides are hopeful the mediation attempt will work.
Mediation is standard in Federal Court disputes and the attorney for BuzzFeed stated that he considered the process “obviously desirable.”
Prior to the start of mediation, both sides will provide an outline of their evidence and information from their witnesses to one another. The lawsuit was filed by Husar against BuzzFeed and its former political reporter Alice Workman over a story, Tweet, and Facebook post from August. The posts and story described allegations of misconduct against Husar by various staff members. According to Husar’s claim, BuzzFeed “conveyed a range of false and defamatory allegations,” including calling here a “slut who boasts about who she has had sex with.” Allegedly, this list included members of her staff and members of Parliament.
BuzzFeed claims it did not use the word “slut” and that the article and posts did not imply it either. Previously, its defense of truth, and defends its allegation that Husar is “sexually perverted.” The publication also stood by its accusation that Husar acted inappropriately and sexually toward her staff.
Husar is scheduled to leave Parliament in May, and according to her attorney, has been “corresponding with relevant Commonwealth agencies” about preserving documents. BuzzFeed had stated it would subpoena these documents in an effort to preserve evidence.
Husar issued a statement that she welcomes BuzzFeed’s agreement to mediate, while a spokesperson for the publication said it stands by its reporting.