YouTuber Avi Yemini announced on Twitter that he has filed a lawsuit against Comedy Central owner Viacom and host Jim Jeffries for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Yemini – an Australia-based activist – alleges in the filing that his interview with Jeffries that aired in March 2019 was edited in a deliberately deceptive and manipulative way.
The controversial episode of the Jim Jeffries Show was entitled, “The Rise of White Nationalism,” and Yemini’s lawsuit states that it wrongly portrayed him as anti-Muslim and anti-immigration – all the way to suggesting that his YouTube videos “may be responsible for the radicalization of the killer who carried out the Christchurch massacre.”
The goal of the lawsuit is to restore Yemini’s reputation that has been “maliciously eviscerated” by the network he says is seeking to further its own political agenda.
As the controversy was unfolding nearly a year ago, Yemini made a video looking into what happened when Jeffries, a comedian and late-night host.
The Christchurch massacre had just happened, and Jeffries decided to address it by showing statements of anti-immigration activists, along those made by Yemini – “who appears in the segment to support blanket racial discrimination when it comes to immigration.”
However, Yemini quickly responded with a video on YouTube, accusing Jeffries of whittling down their one-hour conversation to a handful of clips that wrongly portrayed him as an extremist with links to the New Zealand shooter.
According to Yemini, the interview was actually filmed several months before the Christchurch killings, but only used in its wake; he also said Jeffries ignored the two conditions he had for appearing on the show: not to share a segment with pro-Nazis, and not to have answers to one question edited to appear to be given to another.
But according to the YouTuber, both these things happened.
They were horrifying, Yemini said – but not surprising.
He appeared prepared for the show’s producers and host to act deceptively and decided to have his own record of the interview.
“Luckily, I’m not an idiot, and I knew what their plan was all along. They flew me to Singapore, put me in a hotel for a couple of days there, what was I to expect? It was a set-up,” Yemini said in his March 2019 video. “So, what I did was, I got there, and I secretly put my phone down to record the entire segment.”
He promised at the time to release the entire original footage incrementally, and gave one example of what was said in the interview versus what ended up being aired.
At one point, Jeffries asks, “What gives anyone the right to tell anyone where they can and can’t live?”
The edited footage has Yemini respond by saying, “When you import this culture, what do you think’s going to happen? Australia’s going to end up the same shithole that they came from, that they were escaping.”
Yet, in the unedited video, Yemini’s reply was simply, “Borders?”
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