State Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) told staff at The Tennessee Holler Thursday that she did not have COVID-19, but she said staff members went online a short time later and published she had the virus anyway.
The Holler based this information off of unnamed yet “reliable sources.”
Smith said Thursday that The Holler publishing false information about her — and knowing they published false information — displeased her greatly. Smith also said she might take legal action against the left-wing publication.
This all started Thursday morning when The Holler emailed Smith to ask her about these rumors, she said.
“I responded back, and I had the presence of mind to include [in the email] my personal attorney, the attorney of the Tennessee House as well as the speaker’s attorney. My response was ‘I do not have any illness, symptoms, or known exposures. I do not have COVID. Your comments below and any in print via word of mouth and otherwise will be considered slander and libel,'” Smith told The Tennessee Star.
Smith said that within moments The Holler posted that she had the virus. The publication also mentioned that she did not wear a protective mask at the end of this year’s legislative session. The Holler then asked who else was near Smith and when she first knew she had COVID-19.
The Star did not see The Holler’s post. But around 10:30 a.m. Central Time Thursday The Holler staff posted the following on their Facebook page:
“Robin Smith Denies the rumor that she had COVID. We are deleting the previous post.”
Smith said Thursday that what The Holler did to her was an act of desperation.
“It shows you how despicable the political left and the radicals have gotten in recent days. If they are not successful in having conservatives conform to whatever the topics are of the day, to comply by whatever their demands are at the moment and their whims, then you are set for persecution. Any tool, whether it is screaming racism, whether it’s assigning you with the letter C for COVID if you tested positive, well, then you are the new outcast, according to the radical left,” Smith said.
“I have talked to my attorney. They said the timeline is very clear and about the fact that this particular publication knew going in that they were intent on publishing a rumor. Who knows where that originated? But it’s not my job to find out the source. I have talked to my attorney, and he is exploring some options because, even though the content was pulled down and deleted, it was very malicious and, in this particular case, it serves to harm the public.”
Smith said Thursday that she has not felt ill since last year and has had no reason to test for COVID-19. Nor has she interacted with anyone who tested positive for the virus.
“This is the kind of junk they want to allege is their freedom of speech and, sure, it is protected, but my attorney has found citations, some standing, to address that you can’t knowingly publish rumors, particularly when they have been otherwise denied, Smith said.
Smith said that people saw The Holler’s post and asked her about it before the publication removed it.
“My attorney is exploring options,” Smith said.
“If it is actionable then there will be action.”
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