R.J. Bell, founder of the Las Vegas betting website Pregame.com and subject of an investigative article published by Gawker Media blog Deadspin, has hired Peter Thiel’s lawyer to demand that the website retract the piece.
Titled “How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned a Sucker’s Game Into an Industry,” the post takes a look at questionable practices within the sports betting industry. But in a nine-page retraction and apology demand sent to Deadspin, attorney Charles Harder — representing Bell — claims that there are at least four factual inaccuracies in the story, including a misrepresentation of Pregame’s financial dealings with online sportsbooks.
The demand also states that in written communications between the article’s author, Ryan Goldberg, and Bell, Goldberg had “ignored a great deal of the information that Bell provided him.”
The letter demands that Goldberg and Deadspin “immediately publish a full, fair and conspicuous retraction, correction and apology as to each false and defamatory statement in the Story.”
In Gawker Media’s official response published last Friday, Deadspin refuted the claims of factual inaccuracy listed in the demand.
“You curiously appear to claim that records taken from your client’s website are somehow false. While we understand that you would have had us perform the calculations differently, in ways that we believe would be inaccurate, those calculations were transparently included in the story and expressly used conservative numbers so that results were not unfair to your client,” the response said.
Gawker’s response also pointed out that Bell would not go on the record for an interview, and that “information relevant to the article” had been taken down from Pregame’s website after the reporter reached out to Bell.
Though it remains unclear whether or not Thiel is involved in the dispute through Harder, the Silicon Valley billionaire has made clear his campaign against Gawker Media, funding a number of lawsuits — including Hulk Hogan‘s case over a sex tape published by the site in 2012 — against the company.