Keith Clinkscales Files Defamation Suit

Journal-isms: Ex-ESPN exec denies salacious "lie" by former colleague.

Keith Clinkscales
Keith Clinkscales

Keith Clinkscales, who announced his departure as an ESPN senior vice president three weeks ago, filed a defamation suit Wednesday saying he was being slandered by a former colleague who is spreading a “flat-out lie” that he masturbated under an iPad while sitting in an airplane next to ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews.

“Clinkscales, who is black, claims Joan Lynch, who is white, lied about him to fellow colleagues because he was promoted over her to senior vice president of content development,” Scott Shifrel and Bill Hutchinson reported late Wednesday for the Daily News in New York.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan Criminal Court hours before Deadspin.com quoted an anonymous source detailing Clinkscales’ alleged midair incident with Andrews.”

On Friday, the News’ Michael O’keeffe followed up with a report that Clinkscales’ lawyer, Judd Burstein, said he filed the defamation suit, ensuring that the allegations would become public, “because the fondling allegation is ‘ludicrous’ and, he said, because Deadspin is not a credible news source.

” ‘She should not have done what she did,’ Burstein said of Lynch. ‘She shouldn’t be able to get away with this.’ ”

The story quickly went international. Britain’s Daily Mail posted a lengthy story with such details as:

“Once dubbed ‘the boy wonder of black magazine publishing’ by The Washington Post, Mr. Clinkscales became chief operating officer of the hip-hop bible Vibe aged 29 before becoming a senior vice president at ESPN in 200.

“In her executive producer role, [Mrs.] Lynch most notably headed the development of the Emmy-nominated documentary series ’30 for 30′.

“Miss Andrews joined the company in 2004 and is a co-host of the ESPN entertainment show College GameDay. She finished third in the spring 2010 season of Dancing With The Stars.”

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