Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Sacramento Bee, parent company McClatchy, opinion writer Robin Epley, and ex-wife Allexis regarding five articles that included allegations against him of domestic and child abuse.
Holmes’ lawyer, Camille Vasquez, said in a statement that the “defendants intentionally, and maliciously, published claims of child and domestic abuse by Mr. Holmes despite easily accessible evidence to the contrary via public court filings.” Vasquez also called the Sacramento Bee’s actions “a coordinated and malicious effort to deliberately defame” the NBA player.
Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes is suing Sacramento Bee and staffers for defamation over five individual articles that were published, alleging “defendants intentionally, and maliciously, published claims of child and domestic abuse by Mr. Holmes despite easily accessible… https://t.co/t4zeTsuonJ pic.twitter.com/qat3CiCmaD
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 3, 2023
Vasquez made headlines for representing Johnny Depp in his lawsuit against Amber Heard last year.
The week before the first Sacramento Bee article was published, the Kings announced that Holmes would not play for the remainder of the season due to personal reasons.
Allexis Holmes would go on to accuse Richaun of domestic violence and abuse of their six-year-old son in a series of Sacramento Bee articles between March and May 2022. Allexis, who divorced Richaun in 2019, also filed for a restraining order against the 29-year-old NBA player on behalf of their son.
The five articles in question were titled:
- The ugly reason the Kings shut down Richaun Holmes early: Domestic violence accusations
- ‘My soul is not for sale’: The violent ordeal alleged by the ex-wife of Richaun Holmes
- Kings’ mishandling of Richaun Holmes allegations shows NBA still downplays domestic abuse
- Allexis Holmes’ all too typical experience seeking protection from Kings’ Richaun Holmes
- Allexis Holmes, ex-wife of Kings player, sought justice in courts that set her up to fail
According to The Athletic, Holmes tweeted and deleted “you have to be goofy as hell to believe that about me” in response to the allegations. Holmes’ lawyer at the time responded to the claims by saying they were an attempt to stop him from gaining custody of his son and that he is an “exemplary parent.”
The allegations came after a Los Angeles court awarded Richaun sole physical and legal custody of his son in early 2022. According to ESPN’s James Ham, Allexis defied the court order and took the child to Georgia. There, a Georgia court ruled in Richaun’s favor and returned his son to his custody.
While all of the published articles on the Bee were filed under the “opinion and commentary” section, the NBA player’s complaint alleges that his ex-wife and the Bee collaborated to “use that narrative to benefit themselves.”
The suit alleges that Epley, a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist, was “clinging to, and cashing in on, a false narrative, steeped in harmful racial stereotypes, in the face of mounting evidence that their chosen narrative was blatantly untrue.”
Karl Olson, a lawyer representing the Sacramento Bee told ABC10 that “I think that the Bee’s coverage was a fair and true report of judicial proceedings and was protected opinion.”
Richaun Holmes is asking for unspecified damages.
[ABC10, Chris Haynes, NY Post, KCRA]