Alex Andrade calls radio station owner ‘liar,’ says Cory Mills has ‘midget mind’ while defending defamation bill

The Pensacola Republican said critics don't understand defamation in legal terms.

A controversial defamation bill has state Rep. Alex Andrade slamming conservative media outlets. In an angry text exchange with a Florida radio station owner, the Pensacola Republican called the executive a “liar” motivated by “hurt feelings.”

“So calling me a liar is an insult or defamation?” wrote James Schwarzel, owner of 92.5 FOX News in the Fort Myers-Naples market.

“You lied about a bill,” Andrade replied. “It’s a statement of opinion, it’s also the truth. Did I hurt your feelings?”

“I didn’t lie so it’s defamation and my feelings don’t get hurt,” Schwarzel responded.

“Your feelings obviously are,” Andrade replied.

And all that came before he recalled calling U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, a Winter Park Republican, an “imbecile” last year.

The exchange appears below.

Andrade maintains that his bill (HB 757) would not actually change the definition of defamation under Florida law. The bill would apply laws about retractions to electronic media equally, and allow lawsuits against media to be filed in any county where media with defamatory content gets distributed.

“Too many people think statements of opinion or name calling is defamation,” Andrade said. “It’s not and never will be defamation.”

In his text with Schwarzel, Andrade told the radio station owner “facts don’t care about your feelings.” He goes on to say that “calling someone a name like ‘Jim’s a liar’ is not and never will be defamation.”

Andrade defended the upset exchange and said Schwarzel and other media have cast the bill as more sweeping than it reads.

“He kept calling me and texting me,” Andrade said. “On a phone call, he tried to talk tough about getting ‘Congressmen’ involved. I’ve asked him to explain how this bill would lead to what he claims would happen, but his only argument seems to be that he’s at the center of every litigious liberal’s universe or something. Like, they think about him day and night.”

Mills’ name came into the text conversation with Schwarzel when Andrade referenced a version of the legislation that died last year.

“Don’t whine to me and tell folks sending me spam emails that you lied to them,” Andrade wrote. “I called Cory Mills an imbecile last Session and he lost his little midget mind. Called me incessantly for days … it was pathetic.”

Mills for his part said he was unaware of the comments and was not “interested in engaging in such childish behavior.”

Andrade brushed off assertions his bill would spur more litigation. “Defamation lawsuits get filed all the time right now,” he said, while noting frivolous lawsuits aren’t allowed under state law.

He also dismissed concerns that plaintiffs would file lawsuits against conservative outlets in more liberal judicial districts. “’Venue shopping’ isn’t the same as saying a plaintiff should be able to seek justice in the county where they were harmed by a lie that hurt their reputation,” Andrade said.

He said the bill was necessary to hold electronic outlets to the same standard as print ones as far as retractions. He also asserted language in the bill would make clear only defamation lawsuits with merit can advance in Florida courts. But he said holding outlets to account remained necessary.

“Every case that’s ever taken up the question of whether a false statement based on a single anonymous source met actual malice liability has said it does,” Andrade said. It’s important to make sure that that recognition of journalistic malpractice is always recognized.”

Andrade Text 020724 by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 15, 2024 at 2:42 pm

    It just about never snows in Florida, so why’s there so many snowflakes in the FLgOP?

  • Tom Palmer

    February 15, 2024 at 10:53 pm

    This continues to be a solution in search of a problem. Other than addressing the use of AI to misrepresent someone’s actions, I don’t see any value in this bill.
    Seems like whining politicians, not media assaults are behind this.

  • Joe

    February 16, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    RepubliQan UF Law grads = political scum

    • Hung Wiil

      February 16, 2024 at 11:11 pm

      Nikki, is that you?

  • Ne Plus Ultraman

    February 21, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    How exactly does this help the citizens of Florida? And just how fast do you suppose cases are going to be filed in counties most folks have never heard of, just to make it more difficult for the defendants?

    (No offense to Holmes, Calhoun, Liberty, Lafayette and Franklin counties, etc.)

  • alexz

    February 22, 2024 at 8:34 am

    i think about you day & night why dont u text me back?

  • alexz

    February 22, 2024 at 8:36 am

    oh, right — b/c it might get posted like this guy did

  • alexz

    February 22, 2024 at 4:50 pm

    tsk tsk alex, you shoulda listened to me i told you not to mess with these guys,.

  • alexz

    February 22, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    PETER – you do not silence me

  • alexz

    February 22, 2024 at 4:59 pm

    tsk tsk ALEX you should have listened to me i warned you not to mess w/ these guys

Comments are closed.


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