January 31, 2013

Bashing Mother Jones

Huffington Post - Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot is suing Mother Jones magazine because he contends that he was defamed by an article that depicted him as a "gay-basher."

VanderSloot, the CEO of direct marketing company Melaleuca, filed the lawsuit in Idaho Falls' 7th District court on Tuesday. He says a February 2012 article about him and two tweets promoting it prompted national criticism.

VanderSloot is seeking nearly $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit focuses on the article titled, "Pyramid-Like Company Ponies Up $1 million for Mitt Romney." The term "gay-bashing" never appears in the story, but VanderSloot points to a tweet promoting the article that described him as Romney's "gay-bashing buddy."

In the lawsuit, VanderSloot contends that the term "gay-bashing" denotes violence, harassment or intimidation based on sexual orientation.

Sam Smith - One more reason Romney didn't do well. He had friends like VanderSloot, who doesn't understand language or freedom of speech. Besides, if he finds the term "gay bashing" libelous then his view of gays is out of sync with his public positions as reported by Huffington Post:

In 1999, he bought space on 25 billboards to protest a documentary called "It's Elementary" that aired on Idaho Public Television. The documentary discussed how schools approached the subject of homosexuality, and on the billboards VanderSloot said it promoted "the homosexual lifestyle of your children." In 2008, VanderSloot's wife, Belinda, contributed $100,000 to an independent group supporting a successful California effort to ban gay marriage.

In fact, the  Merriam Webster Dictionary offers two definitions of "bash." 
1: to strike violently : hit; also : to injure or damage by striking : smash —often used with in
2: to attack physically or verbally <media bashing> <celebrity bashing>
Since the term was obviously referring to verbal behavior, what Mother Jones said was no more libelous than if it now accused him of media bashing, which of course he is what he is doing.  

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