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Political Litigation

Lawsuit: White Georgia Republican Claims Fox News Favored Black Georgia Republican

— June 17, 2022

The unusual racketeering lawsuit alleges that Fox News gave preferential treatment to a Black contender in the Georgia Republican primary, allowing him extended air time and permitting him to fundraise for his campaign.

A White Georgia Republican has filed a lawsuit against Fox News, claiming that the conservative media network conspired to sabotage his primary bid to elect a Black Republican in his place.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wayne Johnson, who finished third in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, claims that Fox News and national-level G.O.P. leadership ignored federal regulations to put Jeremy Hunt in office.

The A.J.C. notes that both Johnson and Hunt were present            at the Bibb County Republican Party meeting Thursday night, along with Chris West, who finished second in the primary.

Johnson claims that Fox News intentionally provided Hunt with a platform, permitting him repeated guest appearances on the network.

However, the Journal-Constitution notes that Johnson had been a frequent Fox News guest and contributor even before the election.

WRBL reports that Johnson complained in writing to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott that Hunt was receiving seemingly privileged coverage throughout the primary, using his time on-air to promote his candidacy and fundraise for his campaign.

Johnson also told the Journal-Constitution that he tried speaking directly to Hunt about the perceived problem.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

John said that, while he does not expect any immediate remedies, he hopes that the Federal Communications Commission will enforce its “equal time” rules, which specify that radio and television broadcast stations provide equivalent opportunities to any opposing political candidates who request it.

While the rule allows an exception for candidates participating in “legitimate” interviews, Johnson’s lawsuit asserts that his primary opponent was using the opportunity to raise money for his candidacy.

Interestingly, Johnson’s complaint effectively accuses Fox News of racketeering, lambasting the network as an “unlawful enterprise.”

The lawsuit also claims that Fox News host Brian Kilmeade used the network’s resources to help Hunt get elected; an alleged act that Johnson likens to “mail and wire fraud.”

“This civil action aims to ensure the integrity of Georgia’s elections,” the lawsuit states.

Hunt, however, has already responded to the lawsuit on other platforms, suggesting that Johnson is simply upset that he was unable to win the seat.

“It’s just ridiculous when we have Republicans suing other Republicans because they came in third place,” Hunt told WMGT.

Hunt, adds the Journal-Constitution, is a West Point Graduate and current student at Yale Law School.

Hunt will run against attorney and Georgia developer Chris West in the state’s G.O.P. run-off, with the winner going on to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop this November.


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