Fact Check

ABC Paid Darren Wilson $500,000?

Did ABC pay Darren Wilson $500,000 to do an interview with George Stephanopoulos?

Published Dec 10, 2014

Claim:   ABC paid Darren Wilson $500,000 for his interview with George Stephanopoulos.


Examples:   [Collected via email, December 2014]

Was Darren Wilson paid $500,000 for his interview on ABC News?


Origins:   On 25 November 2014 ABC aired an interview between George Stephanopoulos and Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson.

One day earlier, on 24 November 2014, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch had announced a grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson. Prior to the announcement Wilson had remained largely out of the public eye, and the interview with Stephanopoulos was the first instance during which he publicly gave his account of the shooting death of teenager Mike Brown and its aftermath.

Shortly after ABC announced that the interview would air, a rumor began to circulate on social media sites that Wilson had been paid $500,000 by the network for an exclusive sit-down. Unnamed sources from competing networks were cited in the rumors, but no substantiating information was offered to corroborate the rumors.

On 26 November 2014, CNN's Brian Stelter addressed the rumor in a series of tweets after confirming the details with network representatives on the record. Stelter stated ABC denied Wilson had been paid for the interview and added network policy prohibits offering compensation for interviews:

After sending the initial tweets, Stelter respond to individuals who continued to question whether Wilson was indirectly compensated by ABC for the interview. Stelter confirmed he had investigated those claims as well:

Stelter categorically stated for a third time media representatives at ABC specifically denied making direct or indirect payments to Wilson, including the licensing of photos or footage:

ABC was not the only involved party that categorically denied Darren Wilson was paid for his interview with George Stephanopoulos. On 30 November 2014, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article that also addressed the claim:

Contrary to some reports, Wilson denied he had been paid for the ABC interview. "Absolutely not," he said. "I wouldn't jeopardize my integrity for a dollar."

Last updated:   10 December 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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