And she’s not gonna take that lying down.
Liskula Cohen, a NYC party girl who dabbled in modeling before her face was disfigured in a 2007 attack with a broken bottle, won a ruling to reveal the identity of the writer of a blog calling Cohen a skank. Yes. She went to court and sued Google because someone called her a skank. But as the above picture illustrates, isn’t truth and absolute defense against libel?
The blog has since been pulled down, but Gawker gacked the text that sent Cohen sobbing to the courts about her reputation and the mean mean words on teh internets:
I would have to say that the first place award for “Skankiest in NYC” would have to go to Liskula Gentile Cohen. How old is this skank? 40 something? She’s a psychotic, lying, whoring, still going to clubs at her age, skank.
Yeah she may have been hot 10 years ago, but is it really attractive to watch this old hag straddle dudes in a nightclub or lounge? Desperation seeps from her soul, if she even has one.
Enjoy the pic.
Bloggers have long endured attacks on free speech and attempts by those who wish to silence them, but this is the first ruling of its sort. From PC World:
…The Delaware Supreme Court overturned a decision to reveal a blogger’s identity, after the person accused a local politician of having “an obvious mental deterioration.” A second posting said the politician “is as paranoid as everyone in the town thinks he is.”
The court favored the blogger, fearing that unmasking him or her would have a chilling effect on anonymous speech. Furthermore, the court said that blogs often provide an open forum for the offended party to respond directly to the original posts.
More recently, a Maryland court protected anonymous posters on a newspaper’s Internet forum, after a local Dunkin’ Donuts store manager claimed they were defaming him by calling the restaurant dirty. The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed an earlier decision to reveal the posters’ identity, but laid out a five-step process for judges to follow in future defamation cases, including alerting anonymous posters of a subpoena by a message on the site in question, and offering a clear statement of how the inflammatory comments caused damage.
Thanks to Cohen’s sad inability to tolerate unkind assessments, bloggers have a whole new set of legal concerns. While libel and slander are one thing, this blogger was taken to court for her opinion. That’s a frightening thing, even scarier because a judge sided with Cohen on the matter. The blogger’s attorney insists it’s a First Amendment issue:
“These words are not actionable,” Salisbury said. “They were not nice, they were insulting, offensive to some. That does not mean that the law provides redress for these insults. So the defense is really, this is free speech.”
So, what do you think? Is calling someone a skank protected free speech, or defamation?