Conservative commentator and activist Ben Shapiro happily announced the lawsuit against him by Ahmed Muhammed, dubbed “clock boy,” was dismissed on Wednesday with attorney’s fees awarded to Shapiro.
The father of Ahmed filed the lawsuit against Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro for defamation for his comments about an incident where Ahmed was arrested for bringing to school what appeared to teachers to be a home-made bomb. The 14-year-old Ahmed said that he was merely showing off a clock that he had fashioned together, and that the school and the police had overreacted because he was a Muslim. He was arrested, detained for three hours, and later suspended for three days over the incident.
The lawsuit cited a segment on Fox News where Shapiro accused Ahmed of perpetrating a hoax for the claim of defamation.
Ben Shapiro, appearing on Fox News on or about October 19, 2015, stated that it was “clear” that “this was a hoax, this was a setup and that President Obama fell for it because it confirms a couple of his pre-stated biases against police and against people who he perceives to be Islamaphobic.”
Shapiro celebrated his victory against what he called a “frivolous use” of the court system in a statement posted to his website.
This is an excellent day for free speech. Using law as warfare is perhaps the most disgusting tactic of politically correct activists across the country, and we couldn’t be more excited to stand up against such frivolous use of our court system. My initial comments suggested that false charges of Islamophobia only muddy the waters when it comes to policing actual dangerous activity, and I’m proud to fight back against such charges.
Shapiro was represented by Kurt Schlichter, a popular conservative commentator and lawyer. “I could not be prouder than to have had the opportunity, along with Chris and Ross, to help Ben protect every American’s right to speak out on important issues,” Schlichter said. “Ben never once wavered, never even considered giving in, and we are grateful that the Court has unequivocally reaffirmed his and every American’s right to speak freely.”
The “clock boy” incident divided the nation between those, mostly on the right, who thought the school and law enforcement were reasonable to suspect malicious intent and err on the side of caution, and those on the left who called the actions animated by “islamophobia.” The Attorney General at the time, Loretta Lynch, opened a Department of Justice investigation into the matter, while former President Obama sided with the left and invited Ahmed to the White House to show sympathy for his plight.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) September 16, 2015
Ahmed’s father also filed a defamation lawsuit against conservative radio host Glenn Beck, which was dismissed by a district judge in Texas in January. The family left Irving, Texas, after claiming they had received threats, and now live in Qatar.