Inga Saffron is a big, fat liar, says jury verdict

I sued the Inquirer and Inga Saffron 3 ½ years ago knowing the difficulty of prevailing in a defamation suit.

A statue of lady justice. (Photo: QC Law)

As an indication of the quirkiness of the law, the first judge to hear the case, James Crumlish, ruled I was not a public figure. The last judge, Glynnis Hill, decided I was a public figure, and “public figures” enjoy less protection than private citizens.

After an agonizing 3 ½ years of legal costs and skirmishing, the trial against Saffron and the Inquirer began last week. (The details of why I was suing were presented in a previous post, but the short version is Saffron falsely accused me, among other things, of having a “taste for underage prostitutes.”)

In courtroom 254 in City Hall yesterday, a jury returned a verdict that Saffron had engaged in “outrageous conduct.”

In other words, she lied and defamed me. 

Here is the statement I issued to the two reporters in the courtroom:

“I am satisfied with the verdict. 

I thank the jury and my able attorneys Mark Schwartz and Jason Pearlman. 

I feel my good name has been restored and I pray the Inquirer does not waste any more of its limited resources by prolonging matters. 

The people who applauded Miss Saffron as a truth teller must now feel very foolish indeed.”


The jury mostly let the Inquirer off the hook, not blaming them for what happened, for not stopping it, for not reprimanding Saffron.That was curious, but not really that surprising.

The money awards were tiny, especially by Philadelphia standards: The jury awarded me $20,000 for emotional distress and mental anguish, $25,000 for humiliation and embarrassment and $1,000 in punitive damages, the last from Saffron.

I was never in it for the money. 

Here’s the truth: Had they issued a sincere apology 3 ½ years ago this would have disappeared and not cost them one red cent.

But Saffron was too smug and self-righteous to apologize, and the arrogant Inquirer editors never knew what made me tick. 

Daily News editors could have told them I would never back away from a fight. I would not wave a white flag even after the Inquirer filed suit accusing me of disparagement.

Now here’s an interesting turn: Their suit against me says I disparaged them when I called Saffron a Goddamn liar. 

And now a jury has ruled that she is a Goddamn liar.

So is another jury going to find me guilty of disparagement for a truthful comment?

I really don’t think so.

I don’t think I should let this go without a treat for loyal readers, who maybe haven’t seen the video of Saffron’s outrageous, malicious, deliberate lies about me.

So here is a certified transcript of her remarks, with the truth presented in italics.

[START RECORDING 0:39:05 – 0:44:19]

MS. INGA SAFFRON:  So I just want to say Stu and I have not been on speaking terms for at least a decade.  

It was 4 years, the one and only time they spoke,

So very clearly, I’m the logical person to offer the opposing view.   No one requested her to provide an “opposing view.” Opposing to what? The kind and true words that were spoken about Mr. Bykofsky? Party organizer David Lee Preston testified that was NOT what he expected to hear at the party that Mr. Bykofsky told him he did not want.  Miss Saffron later apologized to Mr. Preston, but not to Mr. Bykofsky, despite her sworn admission that what she did was “very petty” and that she would not do it again. 

The reasons that we are not on speaking terms or at least I’m not speaking to him, but I don’t think he’s – – me, is because he has repeatedly slimed me in his columns, 

No evidence of “sliming” was presented, other than Mr. Bykofsky presenting her as a “bicycle advocate” and “zealot,” both of which are accurate.

 has portrayed me as the out-of-control leader of a fringe cult.

She admitted under oath those were her words, not his.

That would be bicycle commuters, which I really am one.  He seems to think that I’m in charge of all of Philadelphia’s bicyclists; I am not. 

Miss Saffron testified that Mr. Bykofsky never said that, never used those words.

 There’s this thing called the Bicycle Coalition.  But Stu never called them.  And–

MR. STU BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] That’s a lie.  


MR. BYKOFSKY:  That is a lie.  

MS. SAFFRON:  Well let me just–

MR. BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] I always spoke to them, and I can tell you who I spoke to.  That is a goddamn lie.  

Mr. Bykofsky testified that rather than “never” calling them, he quoted them in 10 of 14 columns. Miss Saffron testified that she misspoke, that she was “rattled” because Mr. Bykofsky yelled at her. The video clearly shows Mr. Bykofsky yelled only AFTER Miss Saffron lied about his professionalism.

MS. SAFFRON:  Okay, let me, it’s my turn.  It’s my time.  

MR. BYKOFSKY:  I’m not going to stand here and listen to this bullshit.  

MS. SAFFRON:  I can say, I can say–

MR. BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] I’m a reporter.  I call the other side.  

MS. SAFFRON:  But wait, wait, this is what I’m about to say.  Every time Stu has slimed in his columns, he never called me for comment.  And that is true.

Mr. Bykofsky mentioned Miss Saffron in 4 columns published in the Daily News, the last one being several years before. All commented on her published work in the Inquirer and required no call. 

I have never been called or given an opportunity to respond to any of the gratuitous ad hominem attacks.  

There were no gratuitous nor ad hominem attacks. “Gratuitous” means lacking good reason or unwarranted. Each was in response to her ideas about bicycles or bicycle lanes, which was a public issue. He responded to her ideas. His comments were never “personal” — such as on her appearance or gender. That’s what “ad hominem” means and it never happened. Miss Saffron appears to take any legitimate criticism as personal, as evidence of a persecution complex .

And I think that should give you a sense of the kind of journalist that he is.  And not only did Stu repeatedly use me as a punching bag, 

Her ideas and work were legitimately criticized.

he has this friend, 

She was unable to present any evidence that Mr. Bykofsky and Mr. Beitchman were “friends.”

his name is Ted Beitchman.  Ted Beitchman was forced to resign from the Rendell administration after he hired some prostitutes for a party. 

It was reported he hired strippers.

 It’s a long, complicated story, but Ted Beitchman also joined in with Stu in repeatedly attacking me in his various vanity publications.  

There was no joint operations or conspiracy, she admitted on the stand.

And it’s no wonder that I studiously avoided him too.  So we disagree on just about everything, of his three favorite subjects, pistols, prostitutes, puppies.  We might find common ground on the puppies.  

By “puppies,” she may have meant the dozens of stories Mr. Bykofsky wrote, from blowing up the city animal shelter with an expose, to writing columns that helped free elephants from the city zoo, which had a space too small for them. Mr. Bykofsky covered the arrival of one of the elephants in a Tennessee sanctuary. 

By pistols, she might have meant the more than a dozen columns Mr. Bykofsky wrote on the gun crisis in America. Mr. Bykofsky supports the Second Amendment, as he does the other nine, but advocates universal background checks, closing the gun-show loophole and reducing the size of magazines, and more.

For his “favorite subject” of prostitutes, that has been highlighted in only two columns in 47 years. Just twice. Favorite? In whose mind?

For all that, I did read Stu sometimes, not every crazy column, but some of them.  And many left me outraged, like the infamous column about his taste for child prostitutes in Thailand.  I think Stu should have–

MR. BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] This is a total fucking lie.  The jury agreed it was a lie.

MS. SAFFRON:  You can, that’s online.  That’s still available.  

MR. BYKOFSKY:  That’s, read it online.  

MS. SAFFRON:  Still I will say that Stu sometimes made me uncomfortable–

MR. BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] Great idea.  

MS. SAFFRON:  –in more valid ways.  


Only one-third of the 2011 column she references was about the Thai sex trade and nothing in it mentioned “his taste for child prostitutes in Thailand.” Contact with children is a is forbidden in both Thai and U.S. law, while consenual sex with adults does not violate U.S. law. Prostitution is illegal in Thailand, but the law is honored  in the breech. It is simply unenforced — except for juveniles, which is taken seriously. Others testified that the Daily News would never print a column that advocated and endorsed child prostitution. 

MS. SAFFRON:  And as much as I dislike his worldview and his cynical provocations, I believe that we need to hear different views in our journalism.  And we can’t just be talking to ourselves.  And so while it was worthwhile to have someone with a completely different perspective to remind us what a lot of our readers think, the kind of readers who might have voted for Trump, 

Mr. Bykofsky endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and voted against Donald Trump, in 2020, and endorsed John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro this year.

we need to hear these people and not to dismiss them.  But we also need to find ways to enlighten and inform them and ideally win them over to reason.  And for me, the problem with Stu’s work is that he simply aided and abetted their stupidity, which is not to say that Stu cannot be entertaining.  He has an old newspaperman style, a voice, and pacing, and he can deliver a good zinger.  And these are the essentials of the – – art.  And note that I said newspaperman, not journalist. 

An unwarranted attack on a journalist with many, many awards.

 He hails from a time when the people that put out newspapers were men.  Tiresome gender grievance. And it is not lost on me that some of the gratuitous attacks in his columns were leveled against women. 

She offered evidence of none and the record shows none were “gratuitous” and many, many more attacks were leveled against men, which Miss Saffron does not seem to recognize through her SJW goggles, in which people are victims, rather than individuals.

So with his leaving, I hope we are getting a little further away from that unfortunate time.  

FEMALE VOICE:  Thank you.  

MS. SAFFRON:  So as a columnist myself with a lot of strong opinions, and I’m sure plenty of them are stupid, I very much believe in holding a grudge. 

Grudge is a sign of malice and she testified she was egged on by three other young female reporters who hated Mr. Bykofsky’s point of view, the non-progressive, centrist point of view, offered by, in David Lee Preston’s words, the “dean of Philadelphia columnists.”

So retirement or not, I’m still not – -.  

MR. BYKOFSKY:  Actually the last time we spoke was about four years ago when I invited her to come down to the corner of 8th and Market and see how long it took for some bicyclists to go through a red light.  It happened before I finished my cigarette.  I don’t even smoke anymore.  That’s when we last spoke.  She didn’t like it, and half the things she said were lies.

MS. JENICE ARMSTRONG:  All right, all right.

MR. BYKOFSKY:  I didn’t attack her by name because…

MS. ARMSTRONG:  All right–

MR. BYKOFSKY:  [Interposing] I couldn’t use her name in the Inquirer.  So it’s a sack of shit lie, check it yourself.  

MS. ARMSTRONG:  – – does anybody want to say anything good?  Okay, Christine, Christine Flowers. 

Here is the Inquirer’s coverage of the trial:

And for balance, Ralph Cipriano

Which one seems more fair?

36 thoughts on “Inga Saffron is a big, fat liar, says jury verdict”

  1. Congratulations on the verdict, Stu,

    And thank you for elaborating on the case in this post.
    You knocked it outta the park! I expected nothing less
    from my favorite journalist.

  2. Stu,
    I’m so glad you won this!
    All it takes is one asshole… and though you didn’t do this for the money, the damages are pathetic. This is nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
    Still, you won. Fuck em if they can’t take a joke!

  3. “Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-storyteller who would keep that from you.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

  4. Stu, So glad you didn’t let the Inquirer and one of their forked tongue reporters get away with spreading fake news about you. They didn’t know who they were messing with. I’m proud of you Stu
    you fought a long battle and I’m glad the truth came out and your name was cleared. I enjoyed your column for many years. Keep writing you have many loyal followers. Happy Holidays JR

  5. I’m searching for a reason why I decided to end my four decade relationship with that “rag” almost three years ago. Maybe because old time “newspaper men” were systematically being replaced by modern “journalists.” All of which led me here.

    Congratulations on your victory! Well deserved.

    In celebration I will ride my bicycle to work tomorrow with the huge, vast number of bicycle commuters. Oh, some problems with that… even if I did own a bike the weather would doom my ambitions.

    Looking forward, as always, to all of your future columns.

  6. still HAPPY WEDNESDAY !!!
    PALLIE !
    CONGRATS to you and your legal team. (sic) next time, try those famous legal beagles, Dowe, Cheatem and Howe !
    first: On a serious note. Me with a lifetime in construction with several ( many ? ) appearances before the bench, believe that you are entitled to recover your legal costs. DO IT ! Screw the Inquirer !
    second: a little late, but I would have insisted as part of the settlement, the Inquirer print an apology to you, on a page of your choice.
    third: with that settlement, you should take all of your steadfast followers to WAWA – on a Tuesday – for coffee.

    1. There was no settlement and had they apologized 3 1/2 years ago, there would have been no law suit. Can’t recover legal costs as lawyer worked on contingency. There were other costs to me — printing, copying, testimony books, audio visual, but it’s not worth the effort.

  7. Congratulations, Stu. I’ve been solicited at least four times since canceling the Inky15 months ago. Great offers, too. But I think I may buy one tomorrow to read your victory.🤔 On second thought😆
    Keep on keeping on! Still learning something new.

    1. Yo, Tom, you think the Inqy is actually going to print something about this? And if they do, you know which way it will be slanted. Hey – if that happens, maybe Stu can finally legally, and, practically speaking, use the term “Fake News!”

  8. Great news Stu. Sadly, the two articles are behind paywalls. But I’d love to read them to see the two takes.
    Now go and have a beer or two! It’s finally over and justice has prevailed.

  9. I worked in Editorial at 400 N. Broad for many years. At times people said unkind – and sometimes untrue – things about their co-workers, sometimes publicly. Most adults just shrugged it off and moved on with their lives. (For the record, there are 27 Amendments.)

    1. Thanks for the count, but you know I was referencing the Bill of Rights.
      I shrug off a lot, the usual name-calling, but I am not going to shrug off being called a pedophile. That crossed the line and the jury agreed.

    2. Rich, I am sure your instances were not videotaped and then distributed on the internet via a sister company.

      Glad you can take an insult

  10. Big Trial

    Jury finds Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Inquirer, guilty of defaming Stu Bykofsky
    Jury awards Byko $45,000 in damages and hits Saffron with $1,000 in punitive damages for ‘outrageous conduct’

    Ralph Cipriano

    Dec 14



    A unanimous jury today found that former Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer columnist Stu Bykofsky had proved in court that both Inga Saffron and The Philadelphia Inquirer were guilty of defaming him at his 2019 going away party, when Saffron accused Byko in a video that went viral of having “a taste for child prostitutes in Thailand.”

    Mark Schwartz and Jason Pearlman, Bykofsky’s victorious lawyers, said the verdict was “extraordinary” because it’s so hard to win a defamation case involving a public figure, which Judge Glynnis Hill had ruled that longtime columnist Bykofsky surely was.

    In order to have found that Bykofsky had proven that Saffron and the Inquirer were guilty of defaming a public figure, the judge had instructed the jury that not only did they have to find that Saffron knew what she was saying about Bykofsky was false when she said it, but that she recklessly went ahead and said it anyway.

    The 12-member jury did find that Bykofsky had not proven a second invasion of privacy claim against Saffron and the Inquirer, probably because it was Bykofsky who gave a reporter at Philly mag a copy of the party video that subsequently went viral.

    But for the defamation claim, the jury awarded Bykofsky $20,000 for emotional distress, and $25,000 for humiliation and embarrassment, for a total of $45,000 in compensatory damages.

    In an additional stinging personal rebuke to Saffron, the jury found that the Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic was guilty of “outrageous conduct” at the Bykofsky going-away party, and fined her $1,000 in punitive damages.

    Saffron and her attorneys were stoic but downcast when the verdict was read in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

    Bykofsky left the courtroom with a big smile on his face.

    “I didn’t get an apology, but I did get a verdict,” he said. And then the 81 year-old columnist, who still blogs online, handed out a written statement.

    “I feel my good name has been restored and I pray the Inquirer does not waste any more of its limited resources by prolonging matters,” he wrote. “The people who applauded Miss Saffron as a truth teller must now feel very foolish indeed.”

    The Philadelphia Inquirer, breaking a news blackout of eight-straight days on the case, today wrote that the Inquirer’s parent company said through a lawyer that it was mulling whether to appeal. Meanwhile, Saffron, who declined to talk to me during the trial, declined comment to her own newspaper on the verdict.

    Predictably, the Inquirer story was written from Saffron’s point of view — as in blame the victim — and not the jury’s point of view, which was that Saffron was an arrogant elitist who needed to be taught a lesson in humility.

    “I guess we lost the case,” Mark Schwartz, one of Bykofsky’s lawyers, said after he read the Inquirer story about the Bykofsky verdict.

    As far as Schwartz was concerned, the enduring mystery of the trial was why the Inquirer didn’t cut Saffron loose. Why, after she trashed Bykofsky at his going away party, didn’t the Inquirer say she should have to pay for her own legal defense, which turned out to be costly.

    In recent decades, the Inquirer has endured bankruptcy and auctions, rapidly declining circulation and one round after another of staff buyouts. It also had to sell off its suburban printing plant and iconic former home on North Broad Street.

    To illustrate how grim things are at the Inquirer, Craig McCoy, the veteran Inquirer reporter who wrote today’s pro-Saffron story about the verdict in the Bykofsky case, just took a buyout.

    Saffron herself announced from the witness stand that she had taken a buyout in January.

    Against this backdrop, a newspaper that habitually has to beg its readers for donations to support local journalism, inexplicably paid two high-priced law firms to cook up a frivolous defense for Saffron in court.

    Lawyers I talked to estimated that to defend Saffron for her indefensible conduct in a matter that should have been settled long ago with a simple apology, the Inquirer may have paid out as much as $250,000 in legal fees.

    All because Saffron, a coddled figure at the Inquirer, was too arrogant to apologize to Bykofsky after she clearly did him wrong.




    24 hr ago
    Way to go Stu!

    Let’s see, it will cost Saffron $100 a letter for NOT apologizing…. “I apologize”

    Dec 14
    I wonder why Bykofsky’s legal fees weren’t also included in the judgement?

    That’s relatively customary.

    Unless he/his lawyer didn’t ask for that, for some reason.

    It’s nice to see justice done.

    Thank you, Ralph.

    9 more comments…

      1. Hey Stu, did you see how fast the slanted Inquirer story about your victory in court disappeared off their website? Gone within 24 hours. Amazing!

    1. Actually, you usually don’t get attorney fees in a defamation case or other non-statutory claims. This is the “American Rule” and is unlike other jurisdictions which have a “loser pays” rule. You only get attorney fees when there is a statute that creates that right (e.g. anti-trust violations, consumer fraud, civil rights cases, wage/hour violations and the like) or the attorney fees are “damages” such as in legal malpractice cases or if your opponents claims/defenses are found to be “frivolous.”
      The rationale is to discourage litigation over minor matters that cost more to litigate than the controversy involved is worth. The statutes that provide attorneys fees do so because these types of violations are considered public as well as private harms.

  11. Congratulations. I’ve been in your court for a long time. Glad things worked out in your favor. Nice early Chanukah gift (enough for the entire eight nights). Thank you for keeping me (others) informed and entertained.

  12. I couldn’t resist finding a copy of the paper’s counter-suit on-line. Have quite a few legal opinions about glaring flaws in the suit, but they add up to “What the hell were they thinking?” Also, as a practical matter, the whole suit is nothing less than “self-disparagement.” If they were concerned about their or Saffron’s reputation, they should have hired an attorney not to file it.

    Also, I’m surprised they even use the word “disparage” given its horrific classist lineage. Very non-Woke. Webster says:

    “In Middle English, to “disparage” someone meant causing that person to marry someone of inferior rank. Disparage derives from the Anglo-French word desparager, meaning “to marry below one’s class.” Desparager, in turn, combines the negative prefix des- with parage (meaning “equality” or “lineage”), which itself comes from per, meaning “peer.” “

    1. I am really impressed by your research ability, much better than mine.
      “Disparage” has a legal definition, as opposed to an English definition. I believe that bullshit suit was filed to get me to drop my suit. It just goes to show the Inky suits have no idea what makes me tick.

  13. After a five-day drive, now in Texas and accessing your site, Stu. What an amazing story. Congratulations, not only on the victory, but on your willingness to stick to the fight until its conclusion. I’m trying to remember the political figure who was besmirched but eventually found innocent, who famously said, “Now, where do I go to get my reputation back?” Your reputation, Stu, stands clean and fresh. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah.

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