In a battle of the Al's, Al Jazeera America has announced they are suing Al Gore. AJA is also bringing the suit against Joel Hyatt, the second owner of Current TV, the network that transformed into AJA in 2013 after Gore and Hyatt sold it.
The lawsuit comes down to cold hard cash — there are tens of millions currently held in escrow, left over from the $500 million sale of the network. The Associated Press notes that it was Gore and Hyatt who first started the debate over the escrow with an August lawsuit against AJA.
In Al Jazeera America's countersuit, they argue they are "entitled to the money because Gore and Hyatt did not live up to a promise to indemnify the network for claims made against Current TV."
Gore sold the struggling Current to the Qatar-founded Al Jazeera in 2013, seven years after he launched the network. At the time of the sale, he said both channels shared the goal "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."
Update 5:20 p.m.: Al Jazeera America offered The Wire this additional comment on the matter:
As we have said publicly, Al Jazeera is happy to put all of the material facts in the open and allow an impartial court decide the outcome. The Court will soon make a final determination as to the confidentiality of the redacted information. What is made clear in our suit is the desperate attempt Gore and Hyatt have made to add to the hundreds of millions of dollars they already have received for Current TV. Al Jazeera America’s complaint shows that the former owners did not live up to their promise to indemnify Al Jazeera America for claims made against it for actions taken by Current TV while it was managed by Gore and Hyatt.
It is a simple business dispute, based on false promises and representations made by Gore and Hyatt. It’s as simple as that. The rest of their claims are a smokescreen to prevent people from seeing the truth. And the truth is what our news organization is all about.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.