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Dinesh D’Souza election fraud film, book ‘2000 Mules’ pulled after defamation suit

Dinesh D’Souza election fraud film, book ‘2000 Mules’ pulled after defamation suit
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Dinesh D’Souza attends the DC premiere of his film, “Death of a Nation,” at E Street Cinema on August 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. 

Shannon Finney | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The conservative gadfly Dinesh D’Souza’s film and book “2000 Mules,” which pushes false conspiracies about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, has been removed from distribution by its executive producer and publisher, according to an announcement Friday.

Salem Media Group‘s announcement that it had yanked D’Souza’s film and book also apologized to Mark Andrews, a Georgia man falsely accused in “2000 Mules” of ballot stuffing.

Andrews in late 2022 filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the company, D’Souza, and the non-profit advocacy group True The Vote, which contributed to the “2000 Mules’ project.

D’Souza and True The Vote did not immediately respond to requests for comment by CNBC about Salem Media’s decision to pull “2000 Mules.”

Salem Media released the film in 2022.

The company claimed at the time that “2000 Mules” was “the most successful political documentary in a decade,” and that it had grossed $10 million in its first few weeks of release.

The film quickly became a part of a canon of media produced by far-right figures intended to discredit the results of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won.

Former President Donald Trump, who lost to Biden, embraced “2000 Mules,” screening the film at his Florida club Mar-a-Lago.

But since then, the claims made in the movie and the book, which was published by Salem Media’s subsidiary Regnery Publishing, have been systematically debunked by journalists and law-enforcement officials.

Late last year, attorneys for True the Vote admitted in a Georgia court that they could not produce any documents to back up allegations about ballot stuffing in the 2020 presidential election in that state, which Biden won.”

“2000 Mules” shows Andrews placing five ballots into a box, as D’Souza says in a voiceover: “What you are seeing is a crime. These are fraudulent votes.”

In its statement Friday announcing it would cease distributing the film and book, Salem Media said, “It was never our intent that the publication of the 2000 Mules film and book would harm Mr. Andrews.”

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“We apologize for the hurt the inclusion of Mr. Andrews’ image in the movie, book, and promotional materials have caused Mr. Andrews and his family,” the statement said. “

“We have removed the film from Salem’s platforms, and there will be no future distribution of the film or the book by Salem.”

“In publishing the film and the book, we relied on representations made to us by Dinesh D’Souza and True the Vote, Inc. … that the individuals depicted in the videos provided to us by TTV, including Mr. Andrews, illegally deposited ballots,” Salem Media said.

Salem Media sold Regnery Publishing, the imprint behind the “2000 Mules” book, in late 2023.

The conservative publisher was purchased by Skyhorse Publishing, an independent publisher that has released the work of a wide range of controversial authors, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Last year, Fox Corp. paid $787 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle an unrelated defamation lawsuit based on Fox News’ claims about the 2020 election.

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