In BuzzFeed Unsolved: Sports, sports geek and mystery enthusiast Ryan Bergara and fellow sports nut Zack Evans investigate sports' greatest myths and conspiracies, and debate their validity.
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BuzzFeed Unsolved: Sports Conspiracies - Murder of Seth Rich - Netflix
Seth Conrad Rich (January 3, 1989 – July 10, 2016) was an American employee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was fatally shot in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. As of May 2017, the shooting was still under investigation by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The murder spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to the U.S. intelligence's conclusion the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Law enforcement as well as fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com, Snopes.com, and FactCheck.org stated that these theories were false and unfounded. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post called the fabrications fake news and falsehoods. Rich's parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son's death for political gain, and their spokesperson called the conspiracy theorists “disgusting sociopaths”. They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News after the network promoted the conspiracy theory, and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used. The investigator stated that he had no evidence to back up the claims which Fox News attributed to him. Fox News issued a retraction, but did not apologize or publicly explain what went wrong. In return, the Rich family filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News in March 2018, stating “The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension.”
BuzzFeed Unsolved: Sports Conspiracies - Wheeler lawsuit - Netflix
On August 1, 2017, Rod Wheeler, the private investigator hired by Butowsky who was the first to claim links between Seth Rich's murder and the DNC hack on Fox, but who later appeared to retract his claims, filed a lawsuit (Case 1:17-cv-05807 Southern District of New York), in which 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky are named as defendants, stating that quotes attributed to him in the original Fox News piece were fabricated. The lawsuit also alleges that the fabricated quotes were included in the Fox News story at the urging of the Trump White House. Text messages and audio apparently supporting this assertion were included in the filing of the lawsuit. About a month before the story was aired on Fox News, Wheeler and Butowsky met at the White House with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to review the planned story on Seth Rich's murder. After talking to Wheeler and Butowsky, Zimmerman sent Wheeler a draft of a story without any quotes from Wheeler on May 11. On May 14 Butowsky texted Wheeler saying “Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure.” Butowsky also left a voicemail for Wheeler which said “We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let's close this deal, whatever we've got to do.” Butowsky said Seymour Hersh confirmed a link between Rich and the FBI. Hersh confirmed the conversation with Butowsky but told NPR the link was “gossip” and that Butowsky exaggerated its significance. In an email to Fox News Butowsky also wrote about the purpose behind the Seth Rich story: “One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion (between) Trump and the Russians.” He also instructed Wheeler that “[T]he narrative in the interviews you might use is that you and [Zimmerman's] work prove that the Russians didn't hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our elections (...) If you can, try to highlight this puts the Russian hacking story to rest.” When the story aired on Fox News, it included supposed quotes from Wheeler and was written as if the accusations against the DNC came from him. Wheeler alleges that the quotes were fabricated and should not have been attributed to him. In later recordings Butowsky admits to Wheeler that the claims being attributed to him were false but says that “One day you're going to win an award for having said those things you didn't say.” He also says “I know that's not true, if I'm under oath, I would say I never heard him say that.”
BuzzFeed Unsolved: Sports Conspiracies - References - Netflix