Creep Sues Woman For Warning Other Women Not To Date Him
Once upon a time, back in the year 2003, our lord and savior Miss Barbra Streisand sued the now non-existent website Pictopia.com for posting pictures of her home in Malibu — which, for real, was a pretty crappy thing to do because it really did put her in a certain amount of danger. Celebrities get stalkers, and lots and lots of people are very obsessed with Barbra Streisand and not in healthy ways where they just swan around the house singing "I'm The Greatest Star" in a sailor dress sometimes. People do that. Very normal, well-adjusted people. It's a thing.
As you probably know by now, this backfired pretty terribly and way more people ended up seeing Babs' home than would have otherwise — and that's how we got the term The Streisand Effect.
This bring us to Carl Vonhartman (aka Carl Durden), of Nashville, Tennessee. You have likely never heard of Carl Vonhartman (aka Carl Durden), of Nashville, Tennessee. It is even likelier, still, that you have never considered dating Carl Vonhartman (aka Carl Durden), of Nashville, Tennessee. But now? Now you definitely won't. Because Carl Vonhartman is making a name for himself by suing a woman because she told other women not to date him, on account of how he is an aggressive douchebag.
Earlier this year, a woman named Kortni Butteron posted about the man known to her as Carl Durden (ugh, you know it's a Fight Club thing) in a secret, invite-only Facebook group meant to be a place where women in Nashville looking for love could dish on the city's least eligible bachelors, warn each other about creeps, etc. She described how she'd matched with him on Hinge, but decided against when she saw his Instagram page.
"His Instagram is full of him being a douchebag asshole, making fun of people and generally just being a dick," she wrote.
Subsequently, several other women who had also matched with him on the apps shared their own less-than-great experiences.
"He does not take rejection well," a woman wrote.
Another woman wrote she spoke to him on a dating app after once seeing him get into a fight at a bar. "But he got pissy when I nicely said I wasn't interested so we never went out after chatting."
A third woman wrote, "He seemed nice at first but then he came off really pushy and aggressive and it set off some red flags for me so I unmatched without meeting him."
Unfortunately, some jerk in the group went and sent a screen grab of the discussion to Vonhartman himself.
This led, according to Butteron, to Carl Vonhartman banging on her door on January 29 of this year and Butterton calling 911 and then asking for an order of protection against him, and also to him threatening an administrator of the page.
"Oh my God, he's banging on my ****ing house right now," Butteron said be hearing saying in the 911 calls. "He is constantly ringing my doorbell right now."
In Butterton's hearing where she requested an order of protection, the former administrator of the Facebook page, who asked News4 Investigates only to use her first name, Melissa, because of her concern for her safety, said that Vonhartman also threatened her.
"Screaming, telling me I was a fat b****. That they couldn't continue to let women do this to men. Continued to tell me that he would find out where I lived and worked by the end of the day," said Melissa.
Vonhartman contends that none of this is true and that he can prove that he was at home at the time Butteron called 911 by his phone's GPS. In that same court appearance, he said:
"I absolutely was not there, I was not at her house. I have a mountain of evidence to show I was at my house," he said. "I've never done anything threatening to her, never threatened her. The only thing I said I was going to sue her for defamation."
For calling him a douchebag, in a private group? That's not defamation. People can call other people douchebags. It's totally legal and everyone does it all of the time. And it's a pretty safe bet that if you have a reference to Fight Club in your user name, someone, somewhere has called you a douchebag at some point in your life.
Vonhartman also brought up that another woman in the group who was not Butteron said he had been arrested for domestic battery, when in fact he had only ever been arrested for regular battery after getting in a fight in his college dorm. If true, that could be defamation, but if it wasn't Butteron who said it, it would be weird to sue her for that.
He is asking for $250,000 in compensatory damages and and punitive damages of $500,000.
Here's the thing, though. Had Vonhartman simply ignored this, it is likely that the only people who ever would have known that a few women thought he was a douchebag were those who belonged to that particular secret Facebook group. He probably could have gone on with his life just fine. I know lots of men who have survived, even thrived, after having been called douchebags.
But now, for at least a few years, every person who Googles his name is going to get a bunch of news articles about how he, at best, wanted to sue a woman for defamation for calling him a douchebag in a secret Facebook group. If one's goal is for women to date him and also not think that he is an overly aggressive douchebag who does not take rejection well, this seems like a particularly ineffective way to accomplish that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse