T Nation

Jesse Ventura wins 1.8 Million in Defammation suit


Anyone been following this?

I watched some summation clips last night, but this morning, there's quite a bit of public opinion on FB.



Hmm, I heard it happened and that it didn't happen (Jesse getting KO'd)

I think for a culture shrouded in secrecy they are a little too public. I know for a lot of those guys it's kinda shameful to have their dirty laundry out in the open like this.


It's shameful and i feel bad for everyone involved. I really hope ventura donates a VERY large sum of the settlement to charity, otherwise i would hope to see seals/all military making some face to face house visits.


^ pretty funny posts regarding the issue.


I've just always pretended that Jesse Ventura literally was that guy in predator and that the real life him doesn't exist. It's easier that way. RIP Jesse, we'll always remember how you died in that jungle.


Ventura is a d- bag...he never was a Navy Seal which he was reported to be( was Navy UDT).. Never was in Vietnam like he claimed(served during Vietnam war in support phase in Phillipines). The right thing to do was to drop the suit once Chris Kyle was killed but instead he dragged the widow to court..he says he was trying to save his reputation,well everyone now knows he's a sniveling coward,and word is the Seal community that he liked to hang around-wants nothing to do with him


The "is he or isn't he a Seal" question is explained on the Wiki page pretty simply. When Ventura was in the BUD/S program, after the initial training some guys go onto SEALS qualification training, while others go into UDT (under water demolition) teams. Eventually, they god rid of the two divergent routes, so there are two ways you can look at things I suppose.

"Some argue that since Ventura's BUD/S training was common to UDTs and SEALs, and the work of UDTs and SEALs was similar, he is entitled to call himself a SEAL in all but name, but others disagree and hold the view expressed by Bill Salisbury." -from the Wiki page

I hadn't really been following this story up until just recently, but a few things that stand out to me:

-Ventura points out in a few places that the full costs to the widow are picked up by insurance and the government, while his expenses are fully out of pocket.

-He was accompanied by a former Seal and his wife (the seal's wife) to the bar in question, and both maintain that Ventura had very little contact with any others and no incident occured.

-The owner of the bar (a former Seal) not only claimed no incident, but along with several other retired Seals supported not dropping the case.

-Not one of the defense's witnesses actually saw an altercation occur.

Of course, then my mind starts considering the possibility that people elaborate things all the time when they're selling books. I'm certainly not going to outright say that Kyle possibly took a small verbal exchange and made it into something more, because I honestly don't know, but to me, there's much more to this than Jesse just being a dick and screwing over some guy's widow.





Eh, JV's rep was garbage without the bar fight story due to his own actions.

If he had a smart publicist, he would be making money off the book, not a law suit. He doesn't have a smart publicist, so now a good chunk of people like him less than they did before.

I don't care if the fight is real or not, bar fights are not why I read books.


I feel like everyone has missed the mark except Stu. It doesn't matter what any individual thought about JV's reputation before the book, it doesn't matter that Chris Kyle is an American hero. I have a ton more respect for CK than I do JV but that doesn't give him the right to defame someone.

At the end of the day it looks like JV was able to demonstrate through a preponderance of the evidence that he was defamed by CK with a lack of evidence to suggest the story is true. What else is there to say?

Sure, JV is an idiot and CK is an American hero, but everyone knew that already.


Agreed, but think outside the box for a second, something JV can't seem to do.

Who cares the most about defamation? A public figure. Why? It costs them money. Why? Because it makes them look bad and people don't pay people that look bad in the public eye.

We agree so far? I assume we do because you are a smart and sexy motherfucker.

What do public figures need? Publicity. Is there bad publicity? No (yes there is, but this is a fist fight not child molestation.)

CK loses some respect for writing about a bar fight in the first place, and name dropping in it. However I don't know the context of the story, so I reserve judgment.

What I will judge is JV's reaction. He had two choices:

1) Sue (No one knew dude would die, so that is just hard luck for JV) and win. Okay great. You get your legal fees paid, your day in court and get to jump around like mighty mouse that you won. However this is a very low profile way fo going about it. I keep up with current events and totally missed this, so I imagine the average American glued to Teen Mom and Keep Up With Jay-Z certainly had no idea until they "heard JV sued a dead hero."

2) Run with it, talk about it, and use it. Generally laugh it off, but constantly bring it up. Basically be a national level politician about it, and try CK in the court of public opinion. The more the book sells, the more you talk about it, the more your name gets brought up. After a couple journalists confront CK, you start inviting the witnesses to talk, etc etc etc.

I just feel like a lawsuit was the wrong choice from the get go. ANd particularly once dude died. Once CK died JV suddenly turned into a huge douche in the court of public opinion whether its true or not. We both know normal people don't think rational like your post. As a public figure you care what "normal people" think.


Ventura was not mentioned by name in Kyle's book. I understand that Kyle mentioned Ventura's name at a later date.

What could be worse for Ventura's reputation than suing the widow of a fallen hero? Vile piece of shit.


get the fuck out. Is this serious?


Dunno if you are being sarcastic but yeah it is serious. CK says he punched out a celebrity in his book. When later pressured in interviews, he stated that it was JV.


100% agree with everything you wrote. But that doesn't mean JV is necessarily in the wrong for bringing about this lawsuit. I'm just seeing a lot of shit being thrown at JV simply because of CK's background WITHOUT REGARD to the actual circumstances of the situation. That's not right, either.


I agree with you that it doesn't necessarily make it wrong, but his stated reason for doing it just doesn't make any sense. I also don't really like the idea of a navy seal writing a book about himself but that's probably just me.


Oh god, that makes me double down on my points.

Jesus CK was dumb for naming a name. The mystery would have been 1000x more effective. Good god the creative mind is lost.


I think the Kyle estate is valued at over $6mil from books sales, and it's only going to increase with the movie. I dont feel horrible for Taya Kyle since the family is not going hungry, but it's a bad look for everyone.


Wow! In this thread people are actually thinking through instead of the reactionary shitstorm on FB.

I think JV is had a right to pursue the lawsuit. He filed the suit before the guy died. It's unfortunate that CK passed, and the headline now reads "JV sues SEAL Widow," but the guy told a story in his book that all the evidence points to as a lie.

...and SEALs are supposed to work closely with the CIA, and intelligence, Top Secret clearance and all, if anyone should be able to keep a name to himself it should have been an operator. I worked with Nam era SEAL who saw combat. He'd barely give his own name. If someone preasured CK about his next mission would he have blabbed that too?