Salem Sues Insurer Over Denied Defamation Claims Coverage


Salem Media Group has filed a lawsuit against Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company over claims of breach of contract. The dispute centers on the insurer’s refusal to cover defamation claims linked to the documentary 2000 Mules, which Salem Media distributed.

The film, which made claims about allegedly fraudulent activities in the 2020 election, was the subject of a defamation lawsuit from Mark Andrews, who was falsely portrayed as participating in illegal ballot handling.

According to the complaint filed in the Central District of California, Salem alleges that Atlantic Insurance has not fulfilled its obligations under their insurance agreement, particularly in covering the significant amount of defense costs” and the “significant [confidential] amount” paid to Andrews as part of an out-of-court settlement.

2000 Mules, co-produced by Salem and prominently featuring conservative personality Dinesh D’Souza and the organization True the Vote, Inc., used surveillance footage to allege illegal activities by individuals like Andrews during the election. Despite these serious accusations, investigations by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found no evidence of illegal voting activities by Andrews, leading to his clearance well before the film’s theatrical release.

Salem issued an official apology to Andrews and ceased the film and accompanying book, tied to the media company’s now-divested publishing arm, Regnery. This was quickly followed by a legal filing indicating that Andrews had released the company from the case under undisclosed settlement terms.

In the initial filing, Salem says the Atlantic insurance policy in question clearly covers defamation under its “Communications and Personal Injury Liability” section. Despite this, Atlantic Insurance’s interpretation of the policy’s exclusions and the term “occurrence” led them to deny coverage, a decision Salem contends is baseless. They argue that the policy was intended to cover such media activities and that any pre-policy distribution of the documentary by third parties should not influence the coverage of subsequent events.

Salem Media details its claims in the lawsuit that Atlantic Insurance’s denial was not only a breach of the contractual agreement but also an act of bad faith. Salem points to the insurer’s refusal to engage with the evidence or requests for further information as indicative of a failure to act in good faith.

The complaint meticulously details the previous insurance coverage Salem held, including a “Mediaguard” policy with Federal Insurance Company, which had broader coverage terms. The broadcast company says its expectations for coverage were based on these standard industry practices, which they believe Atlantic should have met.

Salem seeks a court ruling requiring Atlantic Insurance to reimburse them for the defense and settlement costs related to the defamation claims, and is also seeking damages for breach of contract and bad faith, highlighting the significant financial strain the insurer’s denial has caused.


  1. This on one level is pathetically funny. Salem allegedly smears someone’s character, and then expects a 3rd party to pay the costs of their alleged actions.
    Salem is lucky that another company does not challenge their broadcast licenses, based on Salem being an irresponsible company.


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