The Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada in an attempt to generate awareness and start a discussion about COVID-19 restrictions and mandates is accusing Global News of defamation over a story linking him to extremism and white supremacy.
James Topp rose to prominence after criticizing the military's COVID vaccine requirements at a protest. At the time of the incident, Topp said he believed wearing the uniform was an important tool in drawing people to his message. Subsequently, as CTV News reports, Topp was charged in February with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline under a section of the National Defence Act.
After starting a movement called Canada Marches, the reservist then announced he would march from Vancouver to Ottawa this past February. Upon reaching his destination in June, Topp met with a number of Conservative members of Parliament.
That meeting between Topp and Conservative MPs sent some members of the legacy media into a tizzy.
A few months after the meeting, Global News published a story by journalist Rachel Gilmore discussing the need for politicians to “step up vetting practices” when it comes to who they meet.
In the story, Gilmore discusses that an event themed around Topp was organized by an individual named Stephanie McEvoy. Citing an “expert” in extremism, Gilmore explains the issues surrounding some of the beliefs held by McEvoy.
Now, Topp has retained lawyers and is alleging Global News, Gilmore and the company's parent organization, Corus Entertainment, defamed him.
The suit claims that Global labelled Topp “a white supremacist among other things.” It explains that the story's URL, the domain address to view the page, connects the Armed Forces vet with white supremacists and far-right political movements.
A screenshot of the original URL shows the words “stephanie-mcevoy-march-james-topp-white-supremacists-far-right” as making up the latter portion of the link. In addition, the story was also filed under Global News' white supremacy, far right, far right extremism, far right Canada and extremism Canada tags.
Topp's lawyers allege that the words were designed to brand him as a part of a white supremacist movement, a racist, an extremist and more.
Global News has since added an editor's note to the story, which reads:
The URL for this story has been revised to omit a reference to ‘white supremacist’ to avoid any misunderstanding that persons named in the URL are associated with that label.
Disclosure: Rebel News has previously worked with Topp’s lawyer, David Elmaleh.