WASHINGTON — File under irony.
Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team, is suing the Washington City Paper over a cover story the paper published in November that contained a picture of Snyder doctored to look like a devil with horns.
The original article took a critical look at several of Snyder’s business and personal practices. Editors at the paper have said they have been more than willing to run corrections or a response, but Snyder hasn’t offered any.
In his lawsuit, filed with the New York Supreme Court on Feb. 2, Snyder’s lawyers insisted there are “lies” in the article. Regarding the graphic art for the piece (shown above), the suit said it was anti-Semitic: “In its cover art, the Washington City Paper depicted the Jewish Mr. Snyder in a blatantly anti-Semitic way, complete with horns, bushy eyebrows and dollar signs.”
The suit continued, “This is precisely the type of imagery used historically, including in Nazi Germany, to dehumanize and vilify the Jewish people and associate them with a litany of libels over the last 2,000 years.”
Snyder is suing for $2 million.
The claim comes as ironic to many observers since Native Americans have for over a decade been suing Snyder for his use of the Redskins name and trademark. The word redskins has historically been used derogatorily toward Indians, and is highly offensive.
Many newspapers and other organizations have chosen to stop printing the word because there is a widespread belief, supported by psychological research, that it is dehumanizing toward Indians.
Still, Snyder has staunchly defended the use of the team name and trademark, saying that they should not be revoked.
Given Snyder’s rationale in his own devil-horned lawsuit, many Indians are now left asking why he can’t understand their argument. City Paper writers, meanwhile, are defending their turf, noting that religion wasn't mentioned in the article, and that "many staffers" who edited the story are Jewish.
The Deadspin blog noted that in Snyder's defense of himself in a letter to the City Paper, he brushed aside allegations of racism toward Asians at the Six Flags theme parks he owns, only to hammer home his own perception of antisemitism in his lawsuit. "No! You can't put that aside!" admonished blogger Barry Petchesky. "That's a hell of a lot more racist that doodling Devil horns on your photo, and you can't cry foul on one and 'put aside' the other!"
Related: Language of Savagery: Stop It Now