Photo: Hack-Fraud Chuck C. Johnson
As Ben Cohen reported on Friday, it looks like hack-fraud conservative blogger Chuck C. Johnson has made good on his threat to sue his online enemies as part of his ongoing "disruption" campaign -- a campaign that clearly includes totally embarrassing himself.
Johnson (not to be confused with good guy blogger and Johnson's nemesis, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs) filed a lawsuit on Friday in the St. Louis County Circuit Court against Gawker for $66 million. Johnson is also personally suing the Gawker staffers involved in the negative reporting about him over the years. Johnson, who serially libels people as a matter of routine, claims that Gawker libeled him when the publication reported on a rumor that Johnson defecated on the floor while in college.
First of all, why a Missouri court? Because Johnson's lawyer is based there. Johnson is also filing the same suit in California. But legal expert Adam Steinbaugh wrote on Friday that it's nearly impossible to successfully file two lawsuits for the same thing in two states. Steinbaugh wrote that the Missouri suit will probably get tossed because of the venue. Furthermore, the Gawker articles in question didn't convey statements of fact, but were clearly opinion articles. The shit-on-the-floor reporting was also intentionally hyperbolic and based on statements Johnson himself had made. And because Johnson is a public figure, he'll have a difficult time showing malice.
Bottom line: these are frivolous lawsuits. Johnson is clearly nuts -- stomping around on a delusional power trip of epic proportions. Judges are going to see him coming from a mile away, and I hope at least one of them dresses him down in court for wasting everyone's time and money. And, if it was me he was suing, I would absolutely counter-sue for every last dime of that my time and money wasted on his stupid fucking disruption campaign.
Although, there's something amazing about these lawsuits that clearly this hack-fraud hasn't fully considered.
Months ago, Johnson and his hack-fraud photographer targeted The Daily Banter after we published photographs of Johnson, demanding that we remove the photos or face a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Fair enough. We took the photos down. But then we replaced the photos with Johnson look-alike photos: an orange-haired troll doll, "Chucky" from the Child's Play movies and even a photo of poop with an American flag mounted on top. In other words, Chuck blindly walked into further public humiliation and embarrassment. What's more damaging to Johnson: allowing Banter to use his actual photo, or putting up a fuss and baiting us to turn the whole thing into a gag, depicting Johnson as the turd he is?
Likewise, by filing this pooped-on-the-floor lawsuit, Johnson might be extending his 15 minutes of hack-fraud fame, but there's a massive downside. Not only will he embarrass himself in court, but the idea that he might have pooped on the floor in college will be permanently added to the judicial record. By suing over such a trivial thing, he's turning his alleged floor-poop into a big fucking deal -- not only keeping it in the news, but introducing all new scores of observers to the story. Yes, he's all about disruption, but I didn't think disruption was almost entirely about screwing yourself, too.
Worse, he's inviting what are almost guaranteed to be crippling counter-suits, not to mention an endless stream of material for Gawker and Little Green Footballs. What's that old-timey journalism maxim? Never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel. Then again, conservative rogues have shown an aptitude for raising hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the blink of an eye, so perhaps Johnson will be able to financially endure any legal backlash that comes his way. That said, why risk it?
For those of you just joining us, wondering why we're paying so much attention to a ghoul like Johnson, let's recap. Johnson is a former Breitbart writer who set out to launch a site called GotNews.com. From this platform, Johnson writes highly inaccurate and obnoxious articles in which he basically "doxes" those who he perceives as an enemy (doxing is a neologism for gathering private documents about a person, then publishing them online).
--Johnson routinely attempts to expose the identities of rape victims.
--He also once published a story about State Department spokeswomn Marie Harf in which Johnson reported that Harf once suffered from toxic shock syndrome from a tampon -- when she was 16 years old. Johnson appeared astonished that such a thing was even possible.
--Following the deadly Amtrak derailment last month, Johnson initially reported that the engineer was African-American and therefore incompetent. When that turned out to be false, he reported that the engineer is gay, then theorized that the engineer's homosexuality meant that he was either mentally ill or high on meth while driving the train.
--One of Johnson's ongoing theories, for which he's claimed to do extensive research, is that President Obama is gay. He hasn't yet added that Obama is therefore mentally ill or a meth addict.
Chuck C. Johnson is always wrong. And, to be totally honest, I often grapple with myself over whether it's a good idea spend too much time writing about his antics because it too often feels like beating up on someone with a severe mental illness. But then I remember what he's publishing and why, and that momentary sympathy gives way to barely controlled disgust at this human monstrosity. Whatever hell he's inviting upon himself with these lawsuits simply won't be hellish enough.