Who Put These Pubes All Over My First Amendment?
First Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail and a host of tiny bloggers for reporting the existence of a book that claimed she'd been an escort. (The Daily Mail settled; the bloggers ate varying degrees of shit.) Then Devin Nunes sued (but never served!) Twitter and his cow lover for the torts of "mockery" and "mean names." And now youngest ever certified securities frauder Jacob Wohl and lobbyist Jack Burkman are threatening to sue the Daily Beast for pointing out that, oh, they MIGHT HAVE induced a young man to falsely accuse gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg of raping him.
Is it wrong to falsely accuse someone of rape? Or is it wrong to interview the supposed accuser and type up his words claiming Burkman and Wohl had promised him a "lavish lifestyle," MAYBE falsely imprisoned him, and then (he alleges!) put out the false statement in his name?
According to Burkman and Wohl, it is the latter. And they're going to (threaten to) make the Daily Beast pony up, at least for legal fees, since they will never ever ever win an actual "libel and defamation" (yes, AND) suit on the merits.
Meritless lawsuits (or threats of them) have become so common as to barely warrant notice, ever since Gawker was piledrivered into dust by Hulk Hogan. (Gawker was wrong, I believe, to post Hogan's private facts -- i.e. gross sex video -- but certainly not so wrong as to earn a judicial death sentence. But billionaire Peter Thiel's hard-on for them, in secretly bankrolling all manner of libel suits, was certainly effective in shutting up forever an Enemy Of The People. So it's little wonder that now everyone's doing it.)
Donald Trump of course has been talking about "opening up the libel laws" since before he became president, because he loves suing people for printing true things about him. (Among many others detailed here, he sued an architecture critic for calling his building "silly.") And recently Clarence Thomas, the silentest Supreme Court associate justice, has been opening his yaphole to muse about whether landmark libel case New York Times v. Sullivan ought to have been Roe v. Waded. (ABORTED, GET IT? OF COURSE YOU DO.)
He said the decision had no basis in the Constitution as it was understood by the people who drafted and ratified it.
"New York Times and the court's decisions extending it were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law," Justice Thomas wrote.
Justice Thomas, writing only for himself, made his statement in a concurring opinion agreeing that the court had correctly turned down an appeal from Kathrine McKee, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. She sued Mr. Cosby for libel after his lawyer said she had been dishonest.
Have the very fairminded practitioners of rightwing thought and noble protectors of rightwing virtue noticed? Oh, they have noticed.
Last week, your Wonkette was served twice on the same day. Once was by a Palm Beach attorney for Cindy Yang, who was alleged by a long exposé in the Miami Herald to have owned massage parlors offering sexual services as well as been a Republican hanger-on selling access to Trump's Mar-a-Lago to Chinese nationals.
While we certainly believe that the Miami Herald established with its reportage that Yang had at least one handjob factory ...
Yang's family still owns several South Florida spas. The family's Tokyo Day Spa branches have attracted the attention of at least two local police agencies over allegations of prostitution, and are discussed online as places where men can pay for sexual extras.
"If you're just wanting to get a 'rub and tug,' this might be one of the best places in West Palm Beach," one Internet commenter wrote about a Tokyo Day Spas' parlor. A massage therapist at a different location informed police in late 2016 that some employees at the parlor were selling sex and said management encouraged the behavior.
it is true that the handjob factory in question had long since been sold by Yang, and there is no proof that the handjobs there preceded her sale to current management. We apologize and retract in a more conspicuous place and type than the earlier article, which was two sentences in our morning news brief. We hope Ms. Yang's "actual damages" are few.
While we unreservedly apologize to Ms. Yang for our inelegant wording of the various handjob factories' ownership timelines, we have no idea why the fuck we're "named defendants" of misdemeanant jailbird and unsuccessful West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Don Blankenship, who claims to be suing us as well as every news outlet in the universe, along with Donald Trump Jr. While Mr. Blankenship wrote a screed about a conspiracy between Trump Jr. and others who called him a "felon" when he was not a felon but rather a man who'd served a year behind bars for his misdemeanor role in a conspiracy that led to the deaths of 29 miners, we did not call him a felon, because we're (usually; sorry Ms. Yang with the wrong handjob factory!) more careful with our words (we have all the best of them) than that.
Mr. Blankenship's lawsuit -- which despite being a "named defendant" we had to go find for ourselves -- explains that he only lost that race for West Virginia governor because of the terrible conspiracy between media organizations, Donald Trump Jr., and your Wonkette (?), when the real miner killer was, and of course we are not making this up, Barack Obama.
Naturally, to cover this up, the Obama Justice Department put the poor billionaire in jail. Does their perfidy know no bounds? Of course not, Barack Obama is black. But Mr. Blankenship is a billionaire, so he has excellent lawyers who know that the bar for libel of a public figure running for office is quite high. Which is why we find this footnote on Page 8 of the suit they didn't bother to send us:
Thanks Justice Thomas! We're glad to know that the Constitution and law of the land are in such humble hands who know when law is "settled"!
So that was a weird and more than a small bit stressful Thursday afternoon!
It used to be that only nutbags and Larry Klayman filed crazyass libel suits. Now it is members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and any Republican who loses an election in the South. While your Wonkette has never lost a libel suit -- and in fact has never actually been sued, just fun threats a time or two -- that the Right is ramping up with frivolous lawsuits intended to shut up annoying voices like ours (and we are annoying!) is undeniable. And with Thomas and the New Kids on the Court, the time may be coming when it actually works.
We'll let you know when it's time for lawyers, drugs and money. (Believe it, with my hand out begging, you'll be the FIRST to know.) Until then, be careful out there. And now what is it? Your OPEN THREAD!
Rebecca Schoenkopf is the owner, publisher, and editrix of Wonkette. She is a nice lady, SHUT UP YUH HUH. She is very tired with this fucking nonsense all of the time, and it would be terrific if you sent money to keep this bitch afloat. She is on maternity leave until 2033.