Kyle Rittenhouse simply will not stop leveraging his status as a killer

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 24: Kyle Rittenhouse is seen on set of "Candace" on January 24, 2022 ...
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During an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show, Rittenhouse said he’s now fundraising money to sue “celebrities, politicians, and athletes.”


Sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes real news imitates fake news.

Just days after Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of homicide after shooting and killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a story started to make its rounds on conservative Facebook groups claiming that the 19-year-old had filed a $400 million lawsuit against CNN and a $60 million lawsuit against The View hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg. Both of those stories, Rittenhouse’s lawyer’s confirmed, were false.

Well, now they’re not.

During an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s late-night griftapalooza, Rittenhouse popped up to say that he would be starting a campaign to sue members of the media, including news organizations and commentators who say the wrong words. "Me and my team have decided to launch The Media Accountability Project as a tool to help fundraise and hold the media accountable for the lies they said and deal with them in court," Rittenhouse said.

The appearance is, frankly, bizarre. Carlson, maintaining his permanent confused Muppet face for the duration of the conversation, introduces Rittenhouse to talk about the initiative, only for Rittenhouse to struggle to articulate anything about it. Carlson guides him by asking, “You will be suing news organizations that maliciously lie about people in the news, is that the plan?” Rittenhouse replies, “Yes sir, we’re going to be holding them accountable, Tucker.”

Then, when Carlson asks for a hit list of whom he’ll be going after, Rittenhouse basically just names the folks who were involved in the fake news stories from months ago.

He said he’ll go after “politicians, celebrities, athletes.” According to Rittenhouse, “Whoopi Goldberg is on the list,” as is Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks, both of whom have called Rittenhouse a murderer — probably because of the fact that he killed two people. He also says that he plans to sue “everybody who has lied and called me a white supremacist,” though he struggles to name names there too. If you’re curious how anyone got the idea that Rittenhouse might have ties to white supremacist organizations, it might be because he posed for pictures with the far-right fascist group the Proud Boys and held up a “white power” hand sign in the pictures.

While Rittenhouse initially presents The Media Accountability Project as an organization that will protect others from having their names dragged through the mud, the rest of the interview reveals that it’s almost exclusively just about his own grievances. He doesn’t name a single other person whom he is interested in protecting or helping, but rather just rattles off a list of his enemies and what they’ve done to wrong him.

This is a grift that could be seen coming 100 miles away. Carlson floated the idea to Rittenhouse back in November after he was acquitted, as did several other Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity. Nicholas Sandmann, another teen who took heat from the media and received settlements from organizations including CNN for their coverage of him, actively encouraged Rittenhouse to take legal action.

All the engagement with those fake news stories about supposed lawsuits basically just gave Rittenhouse the greenlight to do it for real. Whether or not he wins any of his lawsuits (it’s unlikely), he’ll at least rake in plenty of cash from people who believe in his cause, whether or not he actually does himself. Rittenhouse wins either way, and we’re all probably going to be stuck with his face on our screens for a long time.