Three nurses in Canada who saw repercussions after voicing conspiracy theories online about COVID have now filed a $1 million libel lawsuit. Per the CBC, the complaint by Kristen Nagle, Kristal Pitter, and Sara Choujounian—registered Dec. 13 against the Canadian Nurses Association, CNA executives, and Together News Inc., a British Columbia news group—alleges that the defendants made defamatory remarks about the nurses, who have slammed lockdown measures and posted such debunked claims on social media as the pandemic is a hoax, coronavirus vaccines aren't safe, and surgical face masks boost cancer risks.
Ontario's Nagle, Pitter, and Choujounian are members of Canadian Frontline Nurses, which branched off from Global Frontline Nurses, a group that calls for, among other things, whistleblowers to "go undercover to expose the corruption plaguing the world today." After being charged in November 2020 with not following Ontario's COVID restrictions, Nagle was sacked from her job in January 2021 as a London neonatal ICU nurse; she faced charges again in April. Choujounian—who used to be a practical nurse for a home care agency in Toronto before airing various debunked theories on COVID and imploring others not to comply with health and safety protocols—will be subject in June to a disciplinary hearing in front of the College of Nurses of Ontario. Nurse practitioner Pitter, meanwhile, has also been warned by the CNO.
In their suit, the women reference two opinion pieces in particular about them that they say are defamatory. The first one was posted with no byline on the CNA website in September, declaring "enough is enough" and blasting "the reckless views of a handful of discredited people who identify as nurses." The piece doesn't name Nagle, Pitter, and Choujounian specifically, but their suit says it "could be understood to refer to them." Meanwhile, an anonymous op-ed on one of Together News' sites does name the "unhinged" and "disgraced" nurses, calling them out for "stoking fear, division, and conspiracy."
That piece also claims Nagle and Choujounian were at the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol. In their complaint, the nurses say they've suffered "personal embarrassment and humiliation," as well as seen their professional reputations and careers smeared. They're asking for $750,000 in general damages, plus another $250,000 in punitive damages. A spokesperson for the nurses' association contacted by the CBC on Friday said it had no idea about the suit, while Together News said it wouldn't be commenting as it similarly hadn't yet seen any court documents. (Read more nurses stories.)