Daniel Davis files suit against Jax TV stations, alleges ad is defamatory
Daniel Davis, president of JAX Chamber, isn't slowing down in 2023 fundraising. Image via Florida Politics.

'Defendants knew the statements in the ad were false but chose to broadcast it,' the filing contends.

Jacksonville’s mayoral race will move from the airwaves to the courtroom, as a candidate is pursuing a defamation action against local TV stations.

Republican Daniel Davis, as first reported by The Tributary, filed a suit via Continental PLLC against Hoffman Communications, Cox Television, and the Graham Media Group Tuesday. These three parent corporations control the five television outlets that make up the Jacksonville market.

Davis is seeking a jury trial.

The complaint alleges that the corporations had no obligation to “knowingly and maliciously continue to broadcast a disgusting, false and defamatory hit piece,” given that JAX First, a “dark money” political committee that supports Republican LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber, has no “right to command” the stations to run the ads.

“The decision to air Jax First’s hit piece against Mr. Davis was solely for purposes of enriching Defendants at the expense of the truth and robust electoral debate,” the filing contends. “Defendants were each placed on notice by Mr. Davis’s counsel that the hit piece was made up out of whole cloth. Defendants knew the statements in the ad were false but chose to broadcast it because they got paid to ignore the truth.”

The ad in question was called “Dirty Daniel Davis,” a spot that Florida Politics reported on contemporaneously, with the Davis camp condemning it as “gutter politics.” The television companies aired the ads despite “cease and desist” letters condemning the “disgusting and highly perverse advertisement.”

Indeed, the spot pushed forth a number of tenuous and unsubstantiated claims, which the filing sums up as weaving “a false narrative of Plaintiff participating or condoning unlawful and immoral behavior” and “a false, morally reprehensible and disgusting narrative that when absorbed together weaves a false narrative of Plaintiff placing Duval County’s children at risk of sexual exploitation.”

Davis was frustrated in his attempts to get the Cumber operatives to provide proof of the allegations.

“Plaintiff’s counsel demanded Defendants produce substantiation for the allegations contained in the Hit Piece. Defendants stood silent. Of course, this is because Defendants cannot possess substantiation for allegations that were made up out of whole cloth,” the filing contends.

The ad claims Davis voted for legislation in the House that would “make it easier for criminals to cover up sexual assaults against children.” A press release accompanying the spot cites a Davis floor vote in 2013 on an amendment favorable to the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies that exempted the agency, which investigates Christian child care agencies, from reporting requirements. The amendment did not make it into the final bill.

The spot also attacks Davis for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce funding of JASMYN, an agency that supports LGBTQ teens, which came under fire last year for providing programming materials deemed inappropriate for young children. The political committee cites reporting from the conservative Florida Standard and Florida Voice in support of its claim.

The spot also condemns Davis for accepting support, including a $1,000 campaign contribution, from former NFL wide receiver Laveranues Coles, a former NFL wide receiver who has moved into the entertainment business more recently. He had previously explored opening an adult bar.

These points were spotlighted as defamation by plaintiff lawyers.

“Directly stating or even implicating that the Plaintiff Daniel Davis (a) voted as a Florida legislator make it easier for criminals to cover up child sexual assault records; (b) authorized the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce to fund an organization that promoted the “sexualization of children”; (c) accepted campaign cash and “partied” with a strip club owner while refusing to crackdown on sex trafficking; and (d) “Won’t Protect Our Children” is defamatory per se,” the filing contends.

The Cumber campaign stands by the spot, contending it is still airing.

“The ad speaks for itself,” commented spokesperson Melissa Stone.

The Davis campaign has not commented yet.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • firstthings1st

    February 8, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    I think a better “blockbuster” filing would would be the Governor empaneling a State Grand Jury to get to the bottom of the JEA attempted sale and the handful of men controlling Jacksonville officials and taxpayer monies.

    Appears AG is the local volunteer journalist for the Davis mayoral campaign.

  • Questionable

    February 8, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Pretty sure the author is on the payroll of Daniel Davis.

  • Laveranues Coles For Real

    February 8, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Daniel Davis my dog!

  • PollKat

    February 8, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Poor widdle Danny got hims feelings hurt.

  • Dirty Daniel

    February 8, 2023 at 9:10 pm

    Dirty Daniel is a crybaby hypocrite. All this is doing, is destroying any credibility he thought he had. Now he wants to trash the freedom of speech. His campaign is in trouble. Tim Baker is going to lose this one.

Comments are closed.


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