ACJR Responds to Binance Holdings Limited v. Forbes Media LLC, Michael del Castillo and Jason Brett

From ACJR co-presidents Joon Ian Wong and Leigh Cuen

The Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers (“ACJR”) is moving to express solidarity with two professionals serving its sector – Michael del Castillo and Jason Brett.

On November 18, Binance Holdings, LLC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey against Mr. del Castillo and Mr. Brett. The lawsuit alleges the reporters defamed Binance, and that as such, they are not “protected by any privilege or authorization” associated with their profession. It seeks damages of over $150,000. 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 1964 (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan), defamation charges brought by public figures in the U.S. against journalists must rise to the standard of “actual malice.” The bar is high, and rightly so. 

We believe journalists who make a good-faith effort to do their jobs should be free to provide information in the public interest. Likewise, we affirm it is a reporter’s professional responsibility to evaluate correction requests and communicate editorial choices to the best of their ability.

We hope to see fewer lawsuits against reporters in our sector and encourage firms, especially industry leaders, to reconcile with media outlets when disputes arise. 

The association’s board has voted to endorse this statement.