Weatherford Democrat

September 14, 2011

WallBuilders files libel suit against three

Christin Coyne
Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD — David Barton of Aledo-based WallBuilders has filed a libel and defamation law suit against an Internet writer and two former Texas State Board of Education candidates.

Barton is alleging public policy opponents have falsely painted him as a white supremacist sympathizer and liar.

The suit unspecified damages from the three defendants for allegedly exposing Barton and WallBuilders to “public hatred, contempt, ridicule, financial injury and impeaching [Barton’s] honesty, integrity and virtue.”

The suit alleges Barton has been subjected to a loss of business because of the false statements.

The suit states Barton serves as consultant to legislators, has been involved in developing history and social studies standards for Texas and California and speaks to more than 400 groups each year.

WallBuilders was founded to educate the nation “concerning the Godly foundation of our country,” provide information to government officials and encourage “Christians to be involved in the civic arena,” according to the suit.



Candidates

The suit alleges Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, both former Democratic candidates for Texas State Board of Education positions during the 2010 election, published an ad falsely identifying Barton as being sympathetic to white supremacists.

The YouTube ad, a nearly five minute video with fewer than 9,500 views painting some former board of education members as extremists attempting to take truth from public school textbooks, characterizes Barton as “known for speaking at white supremacist rallies.”

At issue during the election was recent controversial curriculum decisions by the State Board of Education that prompted one board member to accuse other members of rewriting history.

Both Jennings and Bell-Metereau lost the 2010 election.

“I think it’s one of those cases of a frivolous lawsuit,” Rebecca Bell-Metereau, an English professor at Texas State University, said.

“The people who were helping me with my campaign were very scrupulous about fact-checking everything we put out,” Bell-Metereau said.

“I almost wonder if it’s some kind of publicity stunt,” Bell-Metereau said.

Bell-Metereau said she is unsure why she is one of three of many critics to be sued.

“I could speculate that maybe he’s trying to intimidate people from running for office,” Bell-Metereau said.

 Bell-Metereau said she has been a scholar and writer for years and is very careful about everything she says.

The Democrat was unable to reach Jennings for comment Tuesday.



Internet writer

The third defendant, who published an article on Examiner.com under the name W.S. Smith in September 2010, is also being accused of making libelous statements.

In the online article titled “Exposing David Barton,” Smith, an atheist according to the online bio, calls Barton as admitted liar.  

“The problem with this, and with all of Barton’s work, is that it is fiction,” the article states.

The suit alleges the statements are false and are injurious to Barton and WallBuilders.

The Democrat was unable to contact Smith for comment.

A basic internet search shows many similar accusations against Barton.

Attorneys respresenting Barton did not respond to questions by deadline.