Help Ted Rall Fight the LA Times
I'm Ted Rall. I'm a 52-year-old syndicated political cartoonist, columnist and occasional war correspondent in New York.
This is your chance to help defend free speech and freedom of the press against the police. This was originally a fundraising effort to raise the funds required by LA Superior Court in response to the LA Times' motion that I post a $75,000 fully-collateralized bond in order to be allowed to be allowed to argue my case against the Times in court.
Thanks to more than 750 generous contributors, the LA Times bond was funded and filed on time! But the fight goes on.
We are leaving this fundraiser active for those who want to learn about my case, Rall v. LA Times. If you'd like to support my fight against corruption and collusion between the LA Times and the LAPD by contributing to my ongoing legal expenses, including travel to attend hearings and consult with my attorneys in LA, please do so here.
About Rall v. LA Times:
In July of 2015, Charlie Beck, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, colluded with publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Austin Beutner, to terminate award-winning artist Ted Rall from his position as principal Editorial Cartoonist at the LA Times. Their purpose: to censor Rall's consistent, principled criticism of police brutality and corruption.
Charlie Beck, Chief, LAPD
A Rall cartoon mocking Chief Beck.
The LAPD and specifically Beck have been the target of numerous critical Rall cartoons since 2009. In 2015, Beck illegally passed unofficial documents to the LA Times that supposedly proved that Rall had lied about a police encounter from 2001. He hadn't. These documents were carefully cherry-picked in order to misrepresent the truth and smear Rall. The Times didn't bother to check if they were legitimate. Rall was nevertheless fired within less than a day, without an investigation, without consulting his editors, without even being brought into the office to discuss what really happened in 2001.
The May 2015 cartoon by Ted Rall in the LA Times that prompted LAPD Chief Beck to demand Rall's firing.
This violated the paper's own Ethical Guidelines, which state: "People who will be shown in an adverse light must be given a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves. This means making a good-faith effort to give the subject of allegations or criticism sufficient time and information to respond substantively. Whenever possible, the reporter should meet directly with the subject in a sincere effort to understand his or her best arguments."
Austin Beutner, billionaire, ex-publisher, LA Times
Smoking gun: Deposition that reveals the secret meeting between Beutner and Beck, where they conspired to fire Rall as a favor to Beck. Violating its own Ethical Guidelines, the Times continues to protect Beck as an anonymous source.
Not only this, Beutner’s corporation has a history of colluding with police to fire critical journalists. At the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2009, "anti-cop" members of the editorial board were targeted for dismissal after the LAPPL police union bought stock in the company. At the time of Rall's firing, the LAPD union was the #1 shareholder of Tribune Publishing , the parent company of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune . (The police union even gloated over Rall's firing on their blog.)
The Los Angeles Police Protective League's blog gloating over Rall's firing. The LAPPL has since taken it down.
To defend his account of events, Rall hired an audio company to analyze the police audio tape used to fire him. Extensive analysis revealed that Rall had been telling the truth about the encounter all along, but the Times provided no comment and no retraction until three weeks later — after outrage over Rall's firing went viral online — when they provided their own forensic analysis which supposedly found less evidence on the tape. It later turned out that the Times had again lied to their readers about what exactly their experts had discovered.
The well-respected journalists at the New York Observer agree that Ted, not the LA Times, told the truth. They even published an editorial supporting him.
Famous best-selling independent journalist Greg Palast says Ted is telling the truth and that the Times needs to take him back .
The publisher of the Pasadena Weekly, where Ted used to draw before he went to the Times, confirms that local law enforcement officials repeatedly pressured him to fire Ted.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has issued a formal statement demanding an independent investigation of the Times' actions.
R.C. Harvey of The Comics Journal, which has been critical of Ted in the past, has a detailed account that supports Ted.
Even right-wing bloggers — Ted is progressive — are on Ted's side.
Angry LA Times subscribers' comments supporting Rall.
In the aftermath of the Ted Rall scandal, Beutner was unceremomiously fired and escorted out of the Times building by security guards. He wasn't even allowed to use his latimes.com email account to say goodbye.
Weeks after being named publisher of the LA Times, the LAPPL gave Austin Beutner its 2014 Badge and Eagle Award for "support[ing] the LAPD in all that they do." Beutner is in the photo on the lower right.
After all this, all Rall wanted was his job back, and a retraction. That's standard journalistic practice. Despite Beutner's ouster, however, the Times continues to attack Rall.
Even after Rall provided copious exonerating evidence to the Times, an Editor’s Note remains online that states the Rall falsified his claim, injuring his professional journalistic reputation. So does a second Times screed doubling down on their false claims.
What's going on?
Times management can't/won't admit they were wrong, because it would hurt their cozy relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department — their de facto corporate owner, and the source of many of their stories now that they've laid off so many beat reporters.
Now, Ted is suing the LA Times for defamation, wrongful termination, blacklisting and five other counts. As they've tacitly conceded in court, the Times has no legitimate defense, so they're trying to bully their way out of the case by filing stalling and delaying tactics.
Read the entire text of Ted's lawsuit here .
All Ted wants is for a jury of his peers to hear his story. He is certain that they will agree that what the Times did was illegal. Before that can happen, however, Ted has to get past California's notorious "anti-SLAPP" law. According to the LA Times' editorial board, anti-SLAPP was passed to protect small individuals from big corporations, as when "a deep-pocketed corporation, developer or government official files a lawsuit whose real purpose is to silence a critic, punish a whistleblower or win a commercial dispute."
In this case, however, the Times -- part of a huge $499 million corporation called Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) -- is Goliath pretending to be David, abusing the statute in order to try to bankrupt Ted into a "pay to play" legal maneuver. Under anti-SLAPP, Rall has to prove that he is likely to prevail in his lawsuit before he begins depositions, discovery, and the actual lawsuit process...which are likely to reveal more skullduggery among corrupt Times officials.
The Times has completely backed away from their assertions that Ted lied, as they realize that they have made a huge mistake. Now, they’re trying to prevail through technicalities. The Times' lawyer Kelli Sager of Davis Wright Tremaine filed a motion demanding that Rall post a whopping $300,000 bond . This is in case the Times wins their disgusting anti-SLAPP motion, which would allow the Times to be awarded their attorneys' fees...to be paid for by Ted.
Fortunately, the judge ordered the amount reduced to $75,000. Still, that's a lot of money. Most states ask for a few hundred bucks, maybe a thousand. It's a lot more money than Ted, who earned $300/week from the Times, has access to.
Which is where you come in.
If you contribute to this campaign, you'll not only be contributing to a valiant fight against corruption, you'll also be helping Ted's lawsuit move forward against these disgusting legal maneuvers. Unless he comes up with the $75,000 bond within just one week, the lawsuit will be automatically dismissed. If he does come up with it, there will be a hearing next summer — that's the next court date available in LA's jammed legal system — to consider the defendants' anti-SLAPP motion. If they win, the money will be gone and lawsuit will be over.
Your pledge goes to cover this $75,000 bond. Ted will send the money to a bonding company in the form of a cashier's check. The bonding company will then go to Los Angeles Superior Court and post the bond with the court. The court will hold the bond in escrow pending its hearing of the Times' anti-SLAPP motion, and if they lose at Superior Court, until they exhaust their second appeal at the Court of Appeals. At that point — presumably in late 2017, though it could take longer, the money will go to the Times (but only if they win their anti-SLAPP motion).
(Unlike criminal bonds, Ted can't pay 10% to a bond company to get the full $75,000. Collateral for this kind of civil court bond is 100%.)
But that's not what we think is going to happen. We think the judge is going to see things our way. That's why Ted's attorneys, Shegerian and Associates, took this case – a very expensive and complicated case that's going to require a lot of work – on a contingency. They believe in it.
Not only that, there's just been an important new precedent in which a high-court California judge recently ruled that anti-SLAPP is being abused by defendants like the Times, and that's it's got to stop because it's "at odds with the purpose of the anti-SLAPP law, which was designed to ferret out meritless lawsuits intended to quell the free exercise of First Amendment rights, not to burden victims of discrimination and retaliation with an earlier and heavier burden of proof than other civil litigants and dissuade the exercise of their right to petition for fear of an onerous attorney fee award."
Your pledge helps to keep our fight going. Your pledge tells the LAPD and other police agencies that interfering with the free press and with editorial commentary is not acceptable behavior. Sadly, Ted's case is not unique. In Oregon, police conspired with a hard-hitting reporter's publisher to fire him because he editorialized against their illegal searches of high school kids during a basketball game.
Your pledge tells newspapers that kowtowing to local authorities and law enforcement is a violation of their public trust.
Help Ted get justice and show the media that journalists cannot be bullied!
THE FOLLOWING DOES NOT APPLY TO DONATIONS AFTER WE REACH THE $80,000 LEVEL:
Here’s What You Will Receive Depending On Your Level of Support:
Donate $20 or more:
Aside from my eternal gratitude, you'll receive a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service , which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week.
Pledge $35 or more:
You'll get a PDF of one of my three recent political biographies: either of Edward Snowden , Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump . Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week.
Pledge $50 or more:
Receive a print copy of one of my three recent political biographies of Edward Snowden, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump. Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week.
Pledge $100 or more:
Ben Franklin wasn't just one of the fattest founding fathers, he was one of the first people to print periodicals in the English colonies. At Ben Franklin level, you receive a copy of one of my recent political biographies of Snowden, Bernie, or Trump, and it will be signed personally, with a small drawing, to the person of your choice. Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week.
Pledge $500 or more:
For $500 you get the original artwork/line art for one of my recent syndicated editorial cartoons. I'll personally dedicate it to anyone you want. Also includes one of my recent political biographies, signed personally to the person of your choice. Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week. NEW: in addition, I will send you a personalized print thanking you for your support.
Pledge $1,000 or more:
I will draw a single panel cartoon about any topic that you want. In addition, I will throw in my three recent political biographies, signed personally to anyone of your choice. Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week. NEW: in addition, I will send you a personalized print thanking you for your support.
Pledge $5,000 or more:
I will draw a multi panel cartoon about any topic that you want and consult you about the details of the cartoon, and include you as a character inside the cartoon. In addition, you get the three political biographies, signed, of course, as well as one original piece of syndicated editorial cartoon art. Also includes a one year subscription to the Ted Rall Subscription Service, which gets you all of my cartoons emailed to you every week. NEW: in addition, I will send you a personalized print thanking you for your support.
Pledge $10,000 or more:
“Tronc" is the weird new corporate name for the Tribune Company. Austin Beutner is the billionaire who conspired with the LAPD to smear me. At Super Tronc level, you'll receive everything at the $5000 level plus, AND I will join you and your friends for dinner anywhere in the United States. NEW: in addition, I will send you a personalized print thanking you for your support.
If you can cover the whole shebang, you get everything above, plus I will spend two full days hanging out with you anywhere you want in the United States. NEW: in addition, I will send you a personalized print thanking you for your support.
A cartoon by Ted Rall in the Los Angeles Times making fun of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
At the first of three hearings to consider the Times' anti-SLAPP motions against me, the judge in the case chastised both the Times' and my attorneys for violating court rules governing page counts.
The problem began because Times' attorney Kelli Sager submitted a 27.5 page anti-SLAPP motion against me, asking the court to dismiss my suit and award the Times' its six-figure legal bill. Court rules limit the page count to 15.
We adhered to the 15-page limit, but it wasn't possible to reply to 27.5 pages of argument with 15 pages. So in order to effectively counter the Times' 27.5 page motion, we used a smaller font size.
According to Law360.com: "At the start of the hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon announced she was continuing the hearings on all three motions to future dates and asked that the parties respectively submit amended court filings 'in compliance with court's rules and without appendices and footnotes.' The refiled documents should not exceed 20 pages, she said. 'I just want both of you to adhere to the California Rules of Court, that’s all I’m saying,' Judge Sanchez-Gordon said. 'I’m continuing this because I could not get through [them], I’m sorry.'"
Both the Times and I will resubmit revised anti-SLAPP and opposition to anti-SLAPP motions, respectively, to the court for hearings to be held in June and July.
"Many cartoonists in the States will watch what ensues with interest, considering it a timely test of the First Amendment," reports Cartoonist Rights Network International.
For those of you who are entitled to original artwork and so on, I'm working through that stuff now.
If you were entitled to all three graphic bios, of which SNOWDEN is one, you're getting your package of three soon.
Within a week, all the books will have gone out. Thank you for your patience!
1. Some of you have asked how you can support my work and/or my ongoing fight to hold the LA Times legally accountable for their collusion with the LAPD. You've already done enough! But the answer for those willing to help even more is, you can sponsor my work on Patreon. Here's the link: patreon.com/tedrall
(There's also another impetus for creating the Patreon page. Beacon Reader, where I previously received support from readers for my journalism, has gone under.)
2. If you requested SNOWDEN as your print book premium (or you're entitled to all three bios), I'm out of them and waiting for more to arrive from my publisher. I'll get them out as soon as they arrive.
3. If you're entitled to a customized cartoon, please hang tight. The Trump megameltdown is keeping me busy.
4. There was a hearing three days ago in my case. It went well. The bond to which you contributed was formally accepted by the judge in my case. Unfortunately, she rejected our request for emergency discovery (normal discovery is stayed pending resolution of the Times' perverse anti-SLAPP motion). That's a bummer: we were hoping to obtain the original audio and recording device (which the Times should needed to ensure authenticity), as well as a bunch of additional LAPD and LA Times evidence that they're keeping hidden because they're afraid that the truth will come to light. But it's rare for judges to grant emergency discovery, so it's not shocking. We're currently preparing our defense to their anti-SLAPP, which will be considered next spring and summer 2017.
Thank you for your generous support!
Ya know...Rall is an asshole, there's no doubt about that. But in this case he is definitely getting screwed! When I criticize him, I do it for comments and cartoons he actually writes and draws...I have no problem holding him accountable for that! So go get em' Ted! I look forward to you going back to your job so that I can take pot shots at ya!
It's great to see Ted's update, but don't forget that we are trying to raise money with another campaign as well, which hasn't yet reached the original goal of $15,000 (although another $23.00 was logged today). 9w3cezxg Ted, I'm still looking to post an update to that campaign.
It looks like you got what you needed and then some. Congratulations! WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Good luck to you
no book yet
Has Democracy Now covered this story?