MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative newspaper in northern Wisconsin has filed a libel lawsuit against a former Democratic state Assembly candidate.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday that the Lakeland Times of Minocqua and its owner, Gregg Walker, filed suit against Kirk Bangstad in Oneida County on May 12.
The lawsuit alleges that Bangstad refused to take down Facebook posts last year in which he called Walker a crook and a misogynist and alleged the newspaper called a local business official a derogatory name for a person with cognitive delays.
Bangstad said the newspaper and Walker are trying to silence an outspoken progressive and both Walker and the newspaper are public figures, negating the libel claims.
Bangstad owns Minocqua Brewing Co., which has produced beers honoring President Joe Biden and contributes 5% of its profits to a political action committee working to remove Republican officials who perpetuate election lies. The brewery also has paid for billboards criticizing U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, who hails from Minocqua, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. Bangstad mounted an unsuccessful bid to unseat Republican state Rep. Rob Swearingen in November.