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Jewish Journal

Redskins’ owner suing paper for defamation, claims anti-Semitism

By Jacob Berkman, JTA

February 3, 2011 | 1:11 pm

Washington Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder has filed a defamation lawsuit against an alternative D.C. newspaper, claiming in part that the paper’s depiction of him was anti-Semitic.

Snyder, who has owned the National Football League’s Redskins since 1999 and also owns the Six Flags amusement park chain, filed a $2 million lawsuit Wednesday against Atalaya Capital Management, which owns the Washington City Paper. The suit claims that the paper defamed Snyder in a November cover story that featured an encyclopedic account of how he has allegedly mishandled both his football team and his business.

Among Snyder’s complaints in the suit are that the paper has run some 50 columns attacking him since he bought the Redskins, and that the latest, written by Dave McKenna, included an anti-Semitic depiction of him in a photograph. The picture, which obviously was doctored, showed a headshot of Snyder with a devil’s horns and goatee scrawled over his image.

“Simply put, no reasonable person would accept the publication of these types of false, malicious, and/or defamatory statements about them or their spouses,” the lawsuit says, according to NBCWashington.com. “Nor would any reasonable person tolerate an anti-Semitic caricature of himself or herself prominently displayed on the front pages of a newspaper containing false and malicious allegations.”

The City Paper has denied that the image was anti-Semitic.

“The story didn’t mention Snyder’s religion at all,” it wrote on its City Desk blog Feb. 2. “And the illustration is meant to resemble the type of scribbling that teenagers everywhere have been using to deface photos for years. The image of Snyder doesn’t look like an ‘anti-Semitic caricature’—it looks like a devil.

“But we at City Paper take accusations of anti-Semitism seriously—in part because many of us are Jewish, including staffers who edited the story and designed the cover. So let us know, Mr. Snyder, when you want to fight the real anti-Semites.”

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