Buzzfeed reaches settlement with former federal MP Emma Husar

Former federal MP Emma Husar has settled with publisher Buzzfeed after suing the publication and then-Buzzfeed journalist Alice Workman for the way she was portrayed in a story.

Husar claimed a story, tweet and Facebook post from August 2018 portrayed her as “a slut” and “sexually perverted”. Buzzfeed has avoided admitting liability over the story, but has apologised for not contacting Husar and offering her a chance to respond before publishing. It has since taken the story down.

“On 2 August 2018 Buzzfeed published an article by Alice Workman about Emma Husar, then the federal member for Lindsay. The article reported the content of a confidential letter to Ms Husar, prepared as part of an assessment that was commissioned by NSW Labor into allegations made by former employees in Ms Husar’s electorate office, which was leaked to Buzzfeed,” read a statement released by the publisher.

“Buzzfeed and Alice Workman acknowledge that they should have given Ms Husar an opportunity to respond to the article before it was published, and apologise for the hurt and distress caused to Ms Husar and her family.

“BuzzFeed considers reporting on the staff complaints was a matter of public interest.”

The story in question was regarding claims that Husar had subjected staff to bullying and harassment, lewd sexual conduct and sexual harassment. Husar resigned after the claims were made public, but an independent review conducted found her resignation was not warranted and that the claims were unsupported.

Speaking during question time after the story was published, Husar said she would not stand for the allegations and the “slut-shaming” nature of the reporting.

“I am not a bully, I am not Sharon Stone, I am not a thief, and I did not deliberately misuse my work expenses,” said Husar.

“I will fight for my integrity, for my family, and for Lindsay, which is full of battlers just like me and fight for every woman who comes after me.”

The Buzzfeed story published several allegations about Husar, including that she boasts about who she has had sex with and that she had had sex with members of parliament and members of her staff.

It was decided on July 29 that the case would be settled out of court, with both parties reaching an agreed settlement.

The settlement came after a preliminary hearing in February saw presiding judge Steven Rares say a trial would cause a lot of “collateral damage” and be “complicated” and “expensive” for everyone involved.

Workman was made redundant by Buzzfeed in February 2019 and currently covers politics for The Australian.


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