On Tuesday, Clare sent a letter to Bakari Sellers, the attorney and Democratic CNN commentator whose law firm, Strom Law, is representing dozens of alleged sexual-abuse victims, accusing Sellers of perpetrating a “false narrative” in lawsuits which he has filed naming Varsity as a defendant.
“Varsity Spirit regrets that you and your firm—through your self-aggrandizing and relentless publicity-seeking—are obscuring the appropriate concern for survivors and instead seeking to keep the spotlight squarely on yourselves,” Clare wrote.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Sportico, stated that Varsity was now “analyzing” potential defamation claims it could file against Sellers and his South Carolina-based firm for allegations they’ve made about the company in court pleadings and to the media.
To date, Sellers’ firm has filed seven cheerleading abuse lawsuits on behalf of 15 John and Jane Does in South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.
“We are committed to our clients and vigorously prosecuting these cases and take our responsibilities to the clients and the court very seriously,” Sellers said in a statement. “We hope this does not have the effect of chilling those who have suffered abuse from coming forward.”
Clare’s letter insists this was not Varsity’s purpose in retaining defamation counsel.
“As Varsity Spirit has previously and repeatedly stated, its concern, first and foremost, is for the survivors and their safety, and Varsity Spirit wholeheartedly supports survivors in their pursuit of justice against the individuals responsible,” the letter said.
Clare did not respond to a request for comment prior to this story’s publication. In a statement, a Varsity spokesperson referred to Sellers’ claims against the company as “sham litigation.”
In addition to the sex-abuse suits, Varsity is currently defending itself against three federal antitrust cases, which accuse it of having long operated as an illegal monopoly. Last year, Varsity sued several former top employees, who went to work for other cheerleading events companies, over the non-compete clauses of their separation agreements.
Sellers was previously part of a defamation lawsuit filed against CNN by former Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, but the claim against Sellers was dismissed.
Clare’s Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Clare Locke, is currently representing Dominion Voting Systems in its multibillion-dollar, election-related defamation suits against Fox News, Newsmax, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell and others. Sellers has publicly championed those efforts in the past.
(This article has been corrected to clarify that Nicholas Sandmann’s legal action against Bakari Sellers was dismissed.)