A Charlottesville man descended from the “First Family of Virginia” is big mad that a local newspaper reporter detailed the slaveholding past that lead to his family’s prominence. He is now suing not only the paper and the reporter, but a professor quoted in the article for defamation and legal damages.
According to the Daily Beast, Edward Dickinson Tayloe II, who was profiled as one of 13 plaintiffs trying to block the removal of Charlottesville’s controversial moument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, is seeking a whopping $1.35 million in damages for “impairment of reputation, diminished standing in the community, humiliation, injury and embarrassment, emotional distress, mental anguish, professional and business harm, loss of earning capacity, loss of income, loss and impairment to contracts, loss of business opportunities and expectancies.”
Tayloe insists that the C-Ville Weekly piece led to him being unfairly labeled as a racist. Written by reporter Lisa Provence, the article—which details Tayloe’s family’s past and features two quotes by University of Virginia associate professor Jalane Schmidt—laid out the cruelties that enslaved Africans faced at the hands of his family.
“The result of the publication…was to accuse Plaintiff Tayloe of race-baiting in a political and social atmosphere in Charlottesville, Virginia, where, since August 12, 2017, there is virtually no worse label,” the suit claimed, referencing the deadly Unite the Right Rally.
According to the Beast, the newspaper, Provence and Schmidt all decided not to comment on the pending litigation
However, the ACLU of Virginia, who is leading Schmidt’s defense noted, “It is intended to send a clear message to others who wish to opine on matters of public concern in which Plaintiff is involved…disagree or critique Plaintiff Tayloe, then you, too, will face the threat of a lawsuit.”