CNN Staffers Called Ex-Navy Vet Suing For Defamation An ‘A**hole,’ Said They Were ‘Going To Nail’ Him, Lawsuit Alleges

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CNN staffers allegedly called a Navy veteran who is suing the network for defamation an “asshole” and “shitbag,” according to a lawsuit filed June 12 in Florida.

Zachary Young, who helped evacuate Afghan citizens following the U.S. withdrawal, sued CNN over a Nov. 11, 2021, segment airing on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” The segment covered Afghans attempting to flee Afghanistan through private evacuation operators like Young, according to the lawsuit. Young alleged the network falsely branded him as an “illegal profiteer” and as a member of a “black market” that exploited “desperate Afghans” by charging “exorbitant” fees the citizens could not afford.

He said the reporting particularly harmed him since he allegedly was the only private evacuator profiled, according to the suit.

Tapper introduced a segment by reporter Alex Marquardt about Afghans being exploited with expensive fees as they attempted to flee their country. A chyron accused the operations of being black markets. The segment allegedly only displayed Young’s name and picture onscreen above a chyron that read “CNN Investigation: Afghans trying to flee Taliban face black markets, exorbitant fees, no guarantee of safety or success,” according to the lawsuit. (RELATED: Trump To Sue CNN)

“In our world today, the U.S. government, the Biden administration says that as of last week it had assisted in the departure of at least 377 U.S. citizens and 279 lawful permanent residents of the U.S. from Afghanistan since August 31st,” Tapper said on air, according to the lawsuit. “Still, many Afghans, Afghans who desperately want to flee Taliban rule and Afghans who say their lives are at stake, they remain behind. As CNN’s Alex Marquardt has discovered, Afghans trying to get out of the country, face a black market full of promises, demands of exorbitant fees, and no guarantee of safety or success.”

Young says he gained access to internal communications between CNN employees, where they allegedly called him a “shitbag” and an “asshole,” before threatening to “nail this Zachary Young mfucker,” according to the lawsuit. Correspondent Alex Marquardt, who filmed the footage aired on the network, allegedly referred to him as “fucking Young” and said “it’s your funeral bucko.”

He also reviewed messages where the network expressed concern about the story being “a mess,” consisting of 80 percent “emotion” and 20 percent “obscured facts” and “full of holes like Swiss cheese,” according to the lawsuit. Young says he advised Marquardt that there were major inaccuracies in the reporting just hours before publication, but the network still went ahead and published the story, the lawsuit reads.

CNN did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.