Definers Public Affairs, a policy and opposition research firm, has filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) response to a lawsuit from Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar, who accused the firm of coordinating a smear campaign against him. The firm is also asking the court to dimiss the lawsuit, calling the claims "delusional and entirely without merit."
Backstory: Last month, Pishevar filed a lawsuit against the firm after several media outlets, including Axios, inquired about his arrest earlier this year in London for alleged rape. He was ultimately not charged and a court granted his request to keep his name out of the papers. In his complaint, Pishevar accused Definers of spreading rumors about the incident, as well as other information in an attempt to smear him.
- Pishevar invoked his lawsuit and alleged smear campaign in a lengthy statement earlier this week about taking a leave of absence from his VC firm and role at Virgin Hyperloop One. A few days ealier, Bloomberg had published several accounts of women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault.
Full statement from Definers Public Affairs partner Tim Miller:
Our response indicates once again that Mr. Pishevar’s claims were delusional and entirely without merit. We had no knowledge of and communicated with no one about the events Mr. Pishevar lays out in his complaint. He has completely fabricated that Definers or anyone working for Definers had any role in this matter.
"Since his baseless lawsuit was filed there have been reports that it kept women from speaking out about his interactions with them, which demonstrates the shameful purpose of his action.
"We are confident that the Court will see through his strategy of filing deceitful lawsuits to intimidate women from coming forward.