The Free Speech Peter Thiel Will Defend: “Faggot! Faggot! Hope You Die of AIDS!”

J.K. Trotter · 06/01/16 01:40PM

Peter Thiel, the libertarian Silicon Valley billionaire who has waged a secret, decade-long, multi-front legal battle against Gawker Media, has somewhat counterintuitively positioned himself as a guardian of free speech principles. But in response to Gawker’s critical coverage of the technology sector—coverage that Thiel has described as “terrible for the Valley”—he decided the company and the people who write for it deserved to be punished, with a campaign he has called “specific deterrence.”

Journalism Professor Will Go to War for Free Speech, as Long as It Doesn’t Mock Him

J.K. Trotter · 04/29/16 12:00PM

You may have heard about the latest dustup between Jeff Jarvis, a media futurist and journalism professor, and his satirical online alter-ego, @ProfJeffJarvis, who was created several years ago by a software developer named Rurik Bradbury to mock the jargon-laden prognostications for which Jarvis and his ilk are known. The two Jarvises have butted heads in the past, but the most recent incident—in which the real Jarvis, after airing legal threats on Twitter, successfully forced Esquire to delete a satirical essay carrying @ProfJeffJarvis’s byline—shows that, for all of his bluster about the power of free speech, Jeff Jarvis is a cringing hypocrite when it comes to the offensive but entirely legal speech of others.

Tea Party Senate Candidate Caught on Video Taking Church Donations

Adam Weinstein · 04/29/14 10:30AM

Mark Harris could win North Carolina's GOP Senate primary next Tuesday. If so, he may easily become the state's next U.S. senator. And he could do it all with sketchy "love offerings" from parishioners caught on tape passing the hat at the church where he's a pastor.

Supreme Court Doesn't Want to Be Involved With Your Gay Wedding Photos

Michelle Dean · 04/07/14 02:25PM

Today the Supreme Court turned down the opportunity to rule on a case about same-sex wedding photography that fulfills every nightmare religious conservatives in America have about our new era of gay rights. The state of New Mexico had ruled that if you are in the wedding-photography business, you must be willing to take photographs of weddings involving same-sex couples—even if your own religion opposes such weddings.

Former Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Reportedly Signs Plea

Michelle Dean · 04/03/14 03:30PM

Wired is reporting that the activist/journalist Barrett Brown has signed a plea agreement. They have pieced together that conclusion from a motion to seal the plea they say is on the docket (I admittedly don't see that yet myself) and from the fact that earlier this week the federal government filed a new superseding indictment that lessens the charges pending against Brown. To layer on the irony in this controversial First Amendment-involving case, Wired's Kim Zetter couldn't confirm with Brown's lawyers directly, because the lawyers and Brown himself are under a gag order.

Court Orders Yelp to Reveal Anonymous Reviewers' Identities

Adam Weinstein · 01/09/14 04:40PM

In a case that might have First Amendment consequences and will certainly strike fear in the hearts of anonymous trolls, a Virginia appeals court upheld a contempt ruling against Yelp, demanding that it release the identities of seven reviewers whom a carpet cleaner intends to sue for defamation.

A Judge Told Us to Take Down Our Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Post. We Won't.

John Cook · 04/25/13 04:28PM

Yesterday the Hon. Pamela A.M. Campbell, a circuit court judge in Pinellas County, Fla., issued an order compelling Gawker to remove from the internet a video of Hulk Hogan fucking his friend's ex-wife, as well as a 1,400-word narrative of the video written by former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio and 466 user-submitted comments. Here is why we are refusing to comply.

Georgia Lawmaker's Terrible Grasp of First Amendment Rights Results in Hurt Feelings and Porn Star Photoshop

Taylor Berman · 02/11/13 08:04PM

Georgia State Representative Earnest Smith has a problem with Photoshop. Specifically, he has a problem with it being used to cause an "unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction." So, along with fellow Democrat Pam Dickerson, he's trying to make such depictions illegal and punishable by a $1,000 fine. Would, say, taking a Georgia state representative's head and photoshopping it over a male porn star's body fall under such a law? Because that's just what Georgia Unfiltered's Andre Walker did last week (see photo above).

Keep Your Causes Off Your License Plates, Assholes

Mobutu Sese Seko · 12/13/12 04:30PM

As we increasingly cluster in ideologically like-minded niches, our experiences with social media become more like highlight video. Some obnoxious buddy is saying BOOYA! about something on DailyKos, or someone else is demanding that we please trade the idiot president to another country for two prospects and cash.

Elaborate Hoax Credits New York Times' Bill Keller With Pro-WikiLeaks Op-Ed

Louis Peitzman · 07/29/12 10:14AM

The Bill Keller who wrote the op-ed "WikiLeaks, a Post Postscript" makes his position clear: regardless of your feelings about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks must be protected under the First Amendment — so, too, the New York Times reporters who published stories based on WikiLeaks information.