A CBS political drama aired its series finale last Thursday, which included a made-up storyline accusing Governor Ron DeSantis of being a sex offender. In that episode, "The Good Fight" featured a gay character who claimed he was sexually assaulted by DeSantis:
Character on 'The Good Fight': "I offered my political services to Governor DeSantis … and he invited me onto his staff …. Ron invited me to CPAC so I could work on his speech, and then and there he drugged me …."
Explicit graphic dialogue followed – but the plot is that the legal team on the drama worked through the entire episode trying to ferret out whether the character was telling the truth. In the end, it turns out the character had lied in hopes of benefiting former President Donald Trump politically.
John Stemberger is president and general counsel for Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council. He argues that this fictitious storyline can, and should, get CBS into some very real legal trouble.
"I hope Governor DeSantis takes a long, hard look at this and has his legal counsel look at it – because I think some of these Hollywood characters need to be punished for some of this nonsense," he tells AFN.
Stemberger explains that while defamation is easier to prove if the victim is not a public figure, that doesn't mean people like DeSantis and Trump are fair game. "It's very hard to defame a public figure, but if you make a false statement of material fact that is literally defamatory – they're coming very close to this."
Eventually, Stemberger adds, the truth will out – preferably along with a very health payout. "I think the good news is that people who have character and integrity [are] going to prevail in the end, even though people try to smear them," he says.
According to Fox News, the episode "ignited a firestorm on Twitter," with individuals questioning the legalities of casting the governor as a potential sex offender … and calling it "the first of many smear campaigns by Hollywood" that can be expected against DeSantis as he remains a popular potential presidential contender for 2024.