Krystal Ball: Rush Limbaugh "Slut-Shamed" Me


BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Slut-shaming, that's how Krystal Ball the host for Hill T.V. is describing conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's recent attacks against her. Earlier this month Limbaugh made up a story claiming the Ball posed a nude photos when she was 14 or 15. That is crazy. It's completely false. Ball called him out for that, slamming his comments address on her show and on Twitter.

So on Thursday, Limbaugh came out and he kind of sort of issued a correction, he kind of clarified his comments, but he seemingly doesn't know how to apologize. Here's what he said on the air.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I was of the impression that when she ran for Congress that some nude photos of her from social media surfaced. Well, it turns out that that wasn't quite true. Do you want to be famous?


STELTER: Limbaugh went on to mock her throughout the segment. Let me just -- Rush, start by saying I'm sorry, I screwed up, I am -- try that. Practice that in the mirror, Rush. Anyway, Krystal is here with me, Krystal Ball. She's the host of Hill TV's Rising and joining me now for an interview about this. Crystal, thanks for being here.

KRISTAL BALL, HOST, THE HILL: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

STELTER: I don't think what she's ever going to learn how say sorry. I don't think I'll be able to teach him.

BALL: I'm not holding my breath on that one.

STELTER: I agree with you. But I was struck by your decision to come out and talk about this because you are the subject of attacks quite frequently from right-wing media, many others are as well.

BALL: Of course.

STELTER: Why did you decide to call him out in the first place?

BALL: Yes. I mean, you know, this is one of the things that you sort of grapple with on a daily basis. And it's actually my husband that gets the Google alerts on my name. Like you know, I don't have to see everything that everyone is saying about me. But he flagged this one for me and said you know, I thought you should know about it.

And then we kind of took a couple of days to think about whether it was worth responding and a couple of things. I mean, first of all, he has millions of listeners and this transcript was up on the internet for all to see and I didn't want that to be out there without me sort of setting the record straight.

But really, more importantly, slut-shaming is a very common tactic that is employed against women to sort of shut down their voices to make them irrelevant, to say that they can't be leaders. And I didn't want this particular incident to go unchallenged. I wanted other women to know that you know, you can speak out you can fight back and people like this can be held at least what to account.

STELTER: At least the truth can be out there.

BALL: Yes.

STELTER: There were -- there were party pictures of you and you were 28 years old completely clothed --

BALL: I was a little younger. That was like 22.

STELTER: OK, fine, 22.

BALL: So, of age.

STELTER: Not 15, fully clothed. The point is here's -- you know, here's something. He spins it, he lies about you on national radio and there's really no consequences. Do you think in a case like this about suing?

BALL: The thought has occurred to me. And I mean, based on the legal advice that I've received, even for someone like myself who's a public figure where there's an added you know, level of scrutiny, you have to prove actual malice which just means that they either knew it was a lie or there was a reckless disregard for the truth.

I think he quite clearly meets that level, right? He didn't care. I mean, this was -- none of this was remotely true and he didn't care.

STELTER: Let me ask you about a very, very, very different lawsuit but it's still in the realm of legal matters.

BALL: Sure.

STELTER: It's a really interesting development this week about lawsuits filed by the family of murdered DNC staffers Seth Rich. The family sued Fox News a while back claiming the network completely defamed Seth in a story that suggested a conspiracy involving his murder.

Now, Fox has not been held accountable for this, but the lawsuit initially was thrown out. Now an appeals court has revived the lawsuit against Fox. What do you make of that?

BALL: I mean, look, I'm not a legal analyst but what I will say is this. If the allegations are correct, this baseless smear and what was really a conspiracy to smear Seth Rich and attach him to these wild conspiracy theories is one of the most despicable things that I can imagine. I mean, imagine --

STELTER: Yes, they were trying to claim that he leaked documents from the DNC trying to let Russia off the hook to try to help Trump. That's the claim and now this lawsuit is back in action.

BALL: If you are his parents, like there is nothing more unimaginably horrific than losing your child. And then to have a news network exploit that for financial and political gain, I mean, on a human level, that is just absolutely despicable.

STELTER: Yes. Fox says they're reviewing this. They're going to take -- they're reviewing their next legal steps. We will see what Fox does. But it's going to be interesting to see if this case moves forward and moves much more forward because it does reveal something about how the network operated. Krystal, thank you so much.

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