Fact Check: Judge Did NOT Dismiss Kyle Rittenhouse's (Nonexistent) $25 Million Lawsuit Against Whoopi Goldberg

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Judge Did NOT Dismiss Kyle Rittenhouse's (Nonexistent) $25 Million Lawsuit Against Whoopi Goldberg Satire

Did a Justice Sandy Barron-Batt deny a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Whoopi Goldberg filed by Kyle Rittenhouse? No, that's not true: For one thing, the lawsuit does not actually exist, it was invented by a liberal satire website. The news about the Motion to Dismiss was likewise invented by liberal satirists with a reputation for trolling conservatives and Republicans.

The story appeared in an article published by The Dunning-Kruger Times on April 24, 2022 under the headline "Judge Denies Whoopi's Motion to Dismiss Kyle Rittenhouse's $25 million Lawsuit" (archived here), which opened:

Kyle Rittenhouse quietly filed suit against Whoopi Goldberg last week in the Wisconsin Western District US Court of Writs and Affidavits. Goldberg's attorneys immediately filed a motion to dismiss. Just before the closing of business Friday, Justice Sandy Barron-Batt ruled in favor of Rittenhouse.

There is no such thing as a U.S. Court of Writs and Affidavits. And the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a term from the field of psychology defined by Psychology Today as:

... a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.

Several people on the Internet were apparently taken in by copies of the false story, for example here (archived here):

The Dunning-Kruger Times comes with a clear satire disclaimer on the about page:

sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
noun
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full-time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including wearethellod.com and bustatroll.org. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll," which is an anagram of "Art Tubolls," who is named in the story as the producer of "The View."

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up.

Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018, by Eli Saslow:

'Nothing on this page is real': How lies become truth in online America

November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.

If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:

The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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