Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes has filed a defamation lawsuit against The Sacramento Bee, Robin Epley (an opinion writer at The Bee) and Allexis Holmes (Richaun's ex-wife).
Holmes is represented by Camille Vasquez — who famously represented Johnny Depp in his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard — along with Leo Presiado, Jessica Meyers and Sam Moniz. Vasquez has also represented Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez among others.
Holmes is seeking damages for "defamatory content" across five articles published by The Sacramento Bee between March 2022 and May 2022. These articles detailed claims of child abuse and domestic abuse, but the lawsuit alleges that there were "ample reasons to doubt Ms. Holmes' credibility, including publicly-available court filings and orders contradicting Ms. Holmes' claims."
Richaun was ultimately awarded sole custody of his son, RJ. The lawsuit alleges that "despite being vindicated in court... [Holmes] has been wrongfully labeled an abuser in the public eye."
Also, the lawsuit argues that "this is a case about journalism at its worst," alleging that Epley and The Bee were "clinging to, and cashing in on, a false narrative steeped in harmful racial stereotypes, in the face of mounting evidence that their chosen narrative was blatantly untrue."
According to the lawsuit, Epley and The Sacramento Bee were given multiple opportunities to correct these claims yet they declined to do so.
Karl Olson, an attorney for The Bee, said that the articles about Holmes featured "a combination of fair and true reporting of judicial proceedings and opinion.”
“These actions were a coordinated and malicious effort to deliberately defame Mr. Holmes — a devoted father, son and teammate," Vasquez said in a statement. "We will pursue all available remedies to rebuild from the damage that The Sacramento Bee, Epley and Ms. Holmes have inflicted on Mr. Holmes.
"Despite the publicly available court decisions disproving each of these allegations, this narrative will have a lasting impact on Mr. Holmes’ life and career. Mr. Holmes will continue to be the outstanding father, player and community member he always has been, and we look forward to this matter being resolved.”
Holmes is an eight-year NBA veteran with career averages of 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 block in 20.0 minutes per game. He currently plays for the Kings, and he previously had stints with the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers.