Tony Baloney banks on luck o'the Irish to stifle BuzzFeed News and Twitter
Earlier this year, on May 29 and June 22 to be exact, I wrote a couple of posts about BuzzFeed News' ongoing series covering accusations against selfish-help icon Tony Robbins. Robbins had been accused by numerous parties of emotional, physical, and in some cases sexual abuse and misconduct. He had repeatedly denied the allegations and had threatened to sue BuzzFeed if they didn't retract their stories and/or quit writing about him.
As I noted in an update to my June 22 post, but am bumping it up here as well (along with some additional content), BuzzFeed published yet another installment in its Tony Robbins series on November 22, 2019 -- that's Part 6, for those who are keeping track. This latest story covered Robbins' alleged sexual abuse of a minor female at a summer camp in Southern Cali way back in 1985, when Tony was 25, but already rich and famous.
Following the publication of that piece, Tony, who denies those allegations as well, had apparently had enough. He has now decided to SLAPP Buzzfeed with a defamation flawsuit, and is currently threatening to sue Twitter too in the bargain, apparently for allowing people to tweet about the Buzzfeed series. But he's not suing in the United States; rather, he's suing in Ireland, with his lawyer rationalizing that Dublin is Twitter's European headquarters.
Here's a Scribd link to the complaint.
The Irish Times reported that Robbins is being represented by a Belfast-based libel lawyer named Paul Tweed, who denies the claim that Robbins, like other public figures who have filed unsuccessful defamation suits in the United States, is engaging in "libel tourism." Tweed also countered BuzzFeed's accusation that Robbins was abusing the Irish courts, since BuzzFeed's headquarters and primary audience are in the US. He noted that the BuzzFeed journalists who wrote the articles are based in the UK. But BuzzFeed spoksman Matt Mittenthal responded to that by pointing out that Ireland is "a sovereign nation that hasn't been part of the UK for nearly 100 years. This is a bizarre and flimsy attempt to justify a transparent legal manoeuvre."
And Mike Masnick, writing on the TechDirt site on December 4, cut to the chase:
Of course, the real reason to sue in Ireland is because either lawsuit would be laughed out of court in the US. The bar to prove defamation against a public figure like Robbins would make it nearly impossible for Robbins to win a defamation lawsuit here, unless he could somehow prove that Buzzfeed made up the reporting, which seems highly unlikely. And, of course, Section 230 of the CDA would protect Twitter. Even in Europe, it seems unlikely that Twitter could be held liable for how other people tweeted, just because Mr. Robbins is "aggrieved" about how this story spread.Meanwhile, BuzzFeed continues to stand by their reporting.
Whinemaker Trump Junior gets triggered again
In late November I posted a lengthy snarkalysis about the reactions to Donald Trump Jr.'s first book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, which had been released earlier that month. The book quickly soared to the top of some prestigious bestseller lists, but lots of folks were crying foul in the wake of revelations that numerous republican/conservative orgs, including the Republican National Committee (RNC) made bulk purchases.
One point I made in my post was that even though sales of DJTJ's magnum dopus were indeed artificially boosted by those mass purchases, the book most likely would have done pretty well on its own, thanks to the cult of Trumpism. I also pointed out that although it's a given that the Trump family are scammers, bulk purchasing isn't illegal and in fact is commonly done, by scammers and non-scammers alike.
But I also made the point, as I have before, that right-wingers and conservatives seem to be more easily "triggered" (and hate-filled) than the lefties and liberals whom they're continually accusing of being hyper-sensitive snowflakes. Junior himself filled the pages of Triggered with his own whining about how awfully he and his family have been treated. As if to reinforce that particular point, on November 30 DJTJ uncorked another bottle of red whine on Twitter when he groused that airport bookstores operated by Hudson News bookstores are refusing to sell Triggered. He griped that he'd been in seven different airports that week and hadn't seen it. "Why not have the #1 book?" he tweeted. "Usual BS I suppose?"
The tweet, with its strong implication of a nefarious liberal conspiracy to squelch the book, inspired his minions to flood Hudson News' social media accounts, berating them for their alleged participation in the conspiracy. But Junior's lament also inspired a flood of snarky rejoinders from those who are, to put it mildly, not supporters. One Twitter user responded to Trump's complaint by saying that he thought the books were fully stocked in the fiction section; another one, using the handle @MuellerSheWrote, noted that "there are boxes and boxes of them at the RNC."
Apparently Triggered is for sale on Hudson Booksellers' website, but regarding its brick-and-mortar stores, Hudson didn't respond to request from Newsweek for comment about Junior's tweet.
I wonder if Junior also thinks it's part of the "usual BS"/triggered-lib conspiracy that his book was pretty quickly bumped from its number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list by a scathing tome about his daddy, A Warning, By Anonymous.
Phony holiday wars continue
Just the other day I was nattering about the phony "war on Christmas," which this year was joined, thanks to #NotMyPresident Donald John Trump, by the phony "war on Thanksgiving." With my usual gift for stating the painfully obvious, I predicted that despite Trump's declaration that the Xmas "war" had been won, the conservanoids weren't about to relinquish that phony construct entirely.
And along comes right-wing nutcake/culture-wars veteran/Trump ally/career hypocrite Newt Gingrich to prove me right. He and another top Trumpanzee, former Acting Attorney (and scammer) General Matthew Whitaker, have come right out and stated that those demonic Democrats, with all of that impeachment nonsense, are ruining Christmas. #Impeachment is the new #HappyHolidays, I guess.
Newt went on Fox News to cry his crocodile tears about the degradation of the holiday by the impeachment, which in typical Trumpian form he described as "a modern-day lynch mob." But as many others have pointed out, including Charlie Nash on Mediaite, Newt himself participated in the ruination of Christmas back on December 19, 1998 when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the House voted to impeach President Bill Clinton.
Jack Holmes, writing in Esquire, also made note of Gingrich's hypocrisy, adding:
Merry Christmas indeed. And a Happy Impeachment....what tale of shameless grandstanding would be complete without a contribution from Matthew Whitaker, the former Big Dick Toilet Salesman whom the president once saw fit to make the Acting Attorney General of the United States?"It is really a sad day for America. It is, I think, going to hurt people's Christmas experience because this is going to be playing in the background. Instead of Bing Crosby's Christmas album, we're going to have impeachment," Whitaker said.
— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) December 5, 2019That's right, folks: turn off that Bing Crosby. Shut down the Mariah Carey. Nix the "Wonderful Christmastime"—which, contrary to blasphemous reports in this very magazine, is good. It's going to be all impeachment, all the time. Give your Dad a congressional gavel in a box. (Or a T-shirt from War on Christmas x Impeachment.) Of course, what Whitaker's really saying is that people may be forced to discuss the president's assault on the American Constitution at some point this holiday season, which simply will not do. Then again, this is the same guy who jumped on Fox News in October to declare that "abuse of power is not a crime." It is, however, the most essential reason to impeach a president. Merry Christmas.
That's it for now; more soon.