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Former “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan is seeking $25 million in a defamation suit filed against writer Joe Hagan and New York Media for a piece published five years ago titled “Benghazi and the Bombshell.”
The New York magazine story stemmed from a “60 Minutes” broadcast on October 27, 2013, about an attack on a US government diplomatic compound in 2012 in Libya, which killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The piece by Logan was ultimately retracted when it turned out one of the on-the-record subjects, a British security contract named Dylan Davies, had lied about his actions that night.
Logan was not the only one fooled. Simon & Schuster – which, like “60 Minutes,” is owned by CBS – was forced to recall Davies’ book “The Embassy House” when it turned out his account of that night was discredited.
Seven months after the “60 Minutes” piece aired, Hagan published a story Logan’s suit now claims contained “false and defamatory statements” that “caused substantial harm to Logan’s personal and professional reputations.”
“The headline reference to ‘Bombshell’ was both sexist, insulting and defamatory at the same time,” the suit contends. “The word was intended to portray Logan as a dangerous and untouchable and incendiary reporter.”
Lara Logan claims a 2014 article in New York magazine about her reporting on Benghazi hurt her reputation and career.
Hagan wrote at the time that “Logan’s star power blinded her superiors to her flaws” and that she was placed on “60 Minutes” by CBS’ then-boss, Les Moonves, who resigned in 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations.
Logan said she apologized for her “mistake” regarding Davies on “CBS This Morning” in November 2013, but that key parts of the story held up. She claims the decision by “60 Minutes” to pull the story “was motivated by politics.”
Despite the fallout from the retracted story, Logan says she was slowly making her way back into the good graces of “60 Minutes” — until Hagan’s article hit in May 2014.
“The plan for Logan’s return to ‘60 Minutes’ was entirely and completely derailed after publication of the Hagan Hit Piece,” the suit claims. Among the false statements, she says, was a gang rape she suffered in Egypt while on assignment, which Hagan characterized as a “groping.”
Logan’s salary suffered as a result, said the lawsuit. At the time the story hit, she was getting paid $2.15 million, up from $1.9 million in 2012-2013, the lawsuit said.
Under a new contract she signed in August 2015, she was paid only $750,000 to produce up to six original segments as a part-time correspondent in a deal that was to last three years.
“But for the Hagan Hit Piece, Logan would have earned more than $2,150,000 per year as a ’60 Minutes’ correspondent,” the suit claims. “She was young and extremely talented. She expected to work for CBS indefinitely.”
Despite the pay cut, Logan continued to produce segments including “The Battle for Mosul” in November 2016, but was snubbed on other important stories, she said. Her last “60 Minutes” report, “Saving Rhino with Helicopters” aired on July 22, 2018.
Hagan, who is now a special correspondent with Vanity Fair, did not return calls, but New York Media said it is standing by the story.
“The New York Magazine article was thoroughly vetted and fact-checked, and we stand by our reporting,” said a New York Media spokeswoman.