Hunter Biden Reveals Why He’s Punching Back at Fox News

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
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Over the last few days, Hunter Biden has lost his bid to delay his federal gun trial, tried to get his tax trial postponed, and learned that the benefactor funding his legal defense is out of cash.

But President Joe Biden’s scandal-scarred son is ready for another fight.

Three weeks ago, his attorney sent a legal letter to Fox News threatening to sue the media empire for allegedly conspiring with Trumpland operatives and pro-Russia foreign nationals to defame him, and for exploiting his image for profit.

And in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, the 54-year-old blasted Rupert Murdoch’s flagship for using his infamous drug addiction to “dehumanize” him in order to take down his father.

“I’m not saying my addiction is an excuse for my bad behavior. What I’m saying is that my addiction is not an excuse for them to dehumanize me—and in doing so dehumanize everybody from the addict that you pass it on the street, to the one that you live with,” he said.

“That is the principal motivating factor,” Biden said, mocking near-nightly attacks spouted by Fox News personalities, “Addict, addict, addict, addict, you know. Crack addict, he’s a crack addict, smoking crack, addict.”

Hunter Biden.

Hunter Biden after a closed deposition with members of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee on Feb. 28, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The demand letter that Biden’s attorneys sent Fox asked the network to issue written retractions and on-air apologies and corrections for hundreds of online articles and broadcasts. His lawyers told The Daily Beast they plan to file a lawsuit “shortly.”

The Yale Law graduate said he’s not under any delusion about the challenges that lie ahead if he does sue—nor is he deterred.

“Everybody that has ever thought about bringing a defamation suit is always told they’re just going to spend any legal proceeding defaming you all over again,” he said, going on to explain why that did not discourage him. “It’s not like I’m going to reignite some controversy over whether or not I ever smoked crack.”

If the lawsuit moves forward to the discovery phase, Biden claimed, it will make the months of embarrassing revelations from Dominion Voting Systems’ successful defamation suit against Fox News—over the promotion of lies about the 2020 election—look like “pattycakes.”

Asked for a response to Biden’s allegations, a Fox spokesperson referred The Daily Beast to a previous statement that cited its “constitutionally protected coverage” about “a public figure who has been the subject of investigations by both the Department of Justice and Congress, has been indicted by two different US Attorney’s Offices in California and Delaware, and has admitted to multiple incidents of wrongdoing.”

“Consistent with the First Amendment, Fox News has accurately covered these highly publicized events as well as the subsequent indictment of an FBI informant who was the source of certain claims made about Mr. Biden,” that statement said.

Biden’s attorneys later demanded that the network retract this statement, alleging that it “falsely states that Hunter Biden was the subject of an investigation by Congress…mischaracterizes the plain facts of his litigation, and intentionally avoids telling their audience that their attacks on Hunter were ‘based’ on an informant who lied.”

Hunter Biden Plays Legal Whac-a-Mole With Fox News Retraction Demands

Hunter Biden’s hopes of a somewhat private life went out the window three-and-a-half years ago, when the salacious contents of his personal laptop first exploded in the media. These days, he keeps mostly to himself and a small circle of family, friends, and trusted advisers.

But he said he can’t keep his antagonists at bay. Invasions of privacy are so routine—“All the fucking time,” he says—that they even interrupted our interview.

At one point, Biden paused the conversation because his uncle phoned several times in a row, alerting him to a call that a family friend had received at 2 a.m. the night before from someone claiming to be Hunter. The caller said Joe Biden had fallen and broken his hip, and that he’d been drinking again and needed help to cover up the broken hip and keep it out of the news.

This experience—of imposters, pranksters, or operatives contacting people he knows and making bizarre, vulgar and offensive false claims—is normal for Hunter since gigabytes of his private data were publicly dumped on the internet.

“People call from an old email of mine, using internet service, and it will register like as if I called,” he explained. “They could text you an SMS text from that email, and it will pop up as a valid email. It’ll look like it’s actually from me.” (The Daily Beast reviewed offensive SMS text messages two family friends received in August 2021 from an unknown person or people spoofing Biden’s iCloud.)

Biden estimated that, for a time, he caught wind of these incidents “about once at least every 10 days.”

“It happens with my children, with my adult girls,” as well as close friends, former friends, loose acquaintances, and, he suspects, a lot of people he’s no longer in touch with but who appear in his old contact lists.

He has noticed “a precipitous drop-off in the last four or five months”—which he credits largely to a lawsuit he filed in September against a primary antagonist, former White House aide and conspiracy theorist Garrett Ziegler, whose website published nearly 10,000 leaked photos from the laptop in the name of “truth and transparency.”

New York Post front page story about Hunter Biden’s emails.

With a poster of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s emails on display, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, Rep. Jim Jordon and Rep. Lauren Boebert listen during a Feb. 8, 2023, hearing.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Some contents of the laptop became public in October 2020, less than a month before the election, when the New York Post published material from the hard drive.

A Delaware computer repairman says he obtained the laptop hard drive after Biden dropped off three computers and never reclaimed them; he gave the material to a team of Donald Trump allies led by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, who shopped them around to media outlets.

Some of the stuff that has dribbled out since concerns Hunter’s dealings with a Chinese conglomerate called CEFC China Energy and a Ukrainian energy holding company called Burisma. While these arrangements have been picked over for years, feeding sensational headlines about potential financial crimes and well as providing grist for the House GOP’s impeachment inquiry, those allegations have fallen apart under scrutiny.

An avalanche of NSFW photos and other material that seemingly had nothing to do with his business activities overseas was also disseminated—and Biden believes that is no coincidence.

“The pictures are of someone in the throes of addiction. And that’s the way that they established it,” he said.

“You know, ‘Here’s this degenerate. And we can show you in vivid detail the level of his degeneracy. And here’s him smoking a crack pipe. And here’s him naked in a bathtub… Oh, and by the way, here’s an email from Vadym [Pozharsky] thanking him for introducing him to his dad.’”

“Now, none of the second part is true,” he continued. “But they’ve made it a hell of a lot easier for people to believe.”

That’s in line with what’s known about the earliest distribution of the images weeks before the 2020 election. A lead member of Bannon’s team, Vish Burra, previously told Mother Jones that Bannon deputized him at the time “to get out all the sex pictures.” Burra curated and organized the images, dropping them into a folder entitled “Salacious Pics Package.” With Bannon’s support, Burra told Mother Jones, he shared those files with other misinformation operatives. At the same time, Giuliani and others pushed false claims that the leaked data contained evidence of child pornography.

You Might Not Like It, but Hunter Biden’s Shenanigans Are Real News

As Biden pointed out, Fox News hosts to this day reliably include those racy photos as visual aids for stories that have no ostensible connection to his addiction.

“Go back and look at the Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity shows, look at what they’re doing as they’re talking about me and Ukraine, and Romania, and all the other total absolute bullshit that the ‘laptop’ does not prove in any way,” he said. “But in the end, on the split-screen next to them is always a picture of me. Usually shirtless with a cigarette or a crack pipe in my mouth.”

There was a wide selection for Fox to choose from: Biden nude, using crack, frolicking with sex workers, using crack in the nude with sex workers. Some are selfies, and some were taken by sex workers or fellow drug users. Biden cannot recall the circumstances around many or say who took them or why.

By way of example, he pointed to one of the more notorious photos—of him asleep in a bed with a glass pipe in his mouth. “Clearly someone took that picture,” Biden said. But, he added, “that’s actually a meth pipe,” not a crack pipe, and he said he never used meth. That photo, he contends, was staged.

President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden talk with guests during the White House Easter Egg Roll on April 1, 2024.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Biden first opened up about his battle with addiction in his 2021 memoir, Beautiful Things, recounting how he first tried crack as a student at Georgetown University. After a late night of drinking, he headed to a local park with “a fledgling addict’s wrongheaded sense of misadventure” and “decided to see what all the hubbub was about.”

The book says a central factor underlying his addiction was the car crash, when he was 2, that killed his mother, Neilia, and younger sister, Naomi. Biden was seriously injured, along with older brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

“Dr. Gabor Maté believes that addiction is a response to trauma,” Biden told The Daily Beast. “But everyone tries to oversimplify addiction in attempting to find an explanation for what appears to be inexplicable behavior.”

“I’ve chosen to focus on a way forward rather than a root cause, and I know what works for me—the principles that I learned through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the unflagging support of my family,” he said.

Fox News has political incentives for how they treat Biden’s addiction. And to Biden, those motives are perfectly clear: His father’s political enemies needed to manufacture a predicate to get claims of corruption to stick.

“Whatever you say, the one thing that nobody ever accused my dad of was getting rich off of being a United States senator,” Biden said. “And so what’s the one thing that you need to do? You need to completely dehumanize me. And the easiest way to do that is to show me to be this degenerate crack addict.”

Hunter Biden on Capitol Hill.

Hunter Biden listens to his attorney, Abbe Lowell, following a surprise appearance at a January 2024 House Oversight Committee meeting to vote on whether to hold him in contempt of Congress.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Hunter may be clean and sober, but he is still dealing with the fallout of his addiction on multiple fronts. He is staring down a double-barrel of federal criminal trials set to begin in just a few weeks—gun charges in his old home state of Delaware, and tax charges in his new home of California.

In the firearms case, Biden is charged with three felony counts for allegedly lying about his substance use on documentation for a 2018 handgun purchase—an extraordinarily rare charge—after his memoir revealed that he was struggling with addiction at the time. Less than two weeks after Biden bought the revolver, and before he had a chance to fire it, his sister-in-law and then-lover, Hallie Biden, discarded it in a grocery store Dumpster.

The case in California stems from some $1.4 million in unpaid taxes between 2016 and 2019, which Biden has since paid back via loans from a friend, prominent Hollywood lawyer Kevin Morris. He faces nine counts, including alleged tax evasion and claiming false business deductions. (Morris, who met Biden at a campaign fundraiser in December 2019, has loaned him millions but confirmed to Politico last week that he can no longer foot the legal bills.)

The indictments were brought by Justice Department Special Counsel David Weiss after the DOJ revoked the non-prosecution agreement it struck with Biden last summer. The cases are slated to go to trial next month, after both jurisdictions rejected Biden’s efforts to have the charges tossed.

Appeals Court Dashes Hunter Biden’s Dreams of Stopping Gun Trial

The timing is, to say the least, awkward, with Joe Biden in the midst of his re-election campaign against Trump—indicted four times and in the middle of his first criminal trial. While Hunter Biden made clear that he has no role in the campaign, as he told Axios in February, he’s keenly aware of the steep political price that a potential relapse could carry. (Last July, Hunter Biden told a federal judge under oath that he has been sober since June 1, 2019.)

Aides to the president told Politico recently that he is tormented by the idea that his son will be convicted and go to prison. “He worries about Hunter every single day, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep,” said one. “That will only pick up during a trial.”

Fox will, of course, cover the trials slavishly. The question is whether, after the notice from Hunter’s legal team, they will be beaming the old photos from Biden’s laptop into Americans’ homes.

The network removed the Fox Nation miniseries The Trial of Hunter Biden—which made liberal use of those pictures, without authorization—after receiving the legal threat letter. It has also disappeared from streaming services like Roku and Apple.

Biden says the removal “doesn’t absolve them from any liability,” though it could diminish damages in the event of a trial. An earlier statement from Fox addressed the removal of the miniseries, which stages a mock trial of Biden.

“This program was produced in and has been available since 2022. We are reviewing the concerns that have just been raised and—out of an abundance of caution in the interim—have taken it down,” the statement said.

Biden said that in considering its options, Fox ought to think back to the Dominion lawsuit, which was settled on the eve of trial after damaging internal texts and emails unearthed during the discovery process became public.

If people were aghast at those revelations, he said, “think about five years of a systemic fucking campaign to vilify and dehumanize me” by people like Giuliani and his associates—including foreign nationals referenced in his demand letter.

“If we ever got them, it would make Dominion look like fucking, in my opinion, you know, pattycakes,” Biden said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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