Some posts need a clever title to carry them. Some require a thoughtful lede. But some posts simply point the reader in the direction of sheer awesomeness, and all I need to do is step out of the way.
This is such a post.
Jack Thompson — the anti-gaming crusader and justifiably disbarred lawyer, who has made a name for himself by consistently exhibiting a level of crazy that makes him stand out even in Florida, has sued Facebook. Why? Well, basically, he's mad that Facebook won't make its users stop being mean to him. No, really.
Thompson asserts that he is the victim of bullying by the video gaming industry and gamers, and that he has received death threats as a result. He is unable to describe these threats without indulging in his anti-video-game rant:
And the harassing phone calls have been so continuous and so disruptive that Thompson has to take his phone off the hook each evening or he will be awakened, as he is when he forgets to do so, by miscreants who think that the First Amendment protects not only the predatory and illegal marketing and sale of adult porn and violence to kids but the criminal harassment of a citizen who has the courage to say what 90% of the American people know-that families are under siege by corporate predators who mentally molest minors for money.
And so on. Facebook failed to take down some groups that are mean to Jack. One offers someone $50 to punch him in the face. Another says he should be "removed from the populace." Another suggests smacking him across the face with an Atari 2600. Thompson also complains of groups that simply say "I hate Jack Thompson."
I've uploaded Thompson's pro se federal complaint here. Given the amount of joy it will give us, it almost seems unfair to expose it to a rigorous legal analysis. That would be like having a professor of modern art criticize your three-year-old's finger-painting. Suffice it to say that Thompson has not lost his talent for crazy, nor has he developed any more of an understanding of the law. Jack sues for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision. Jack is all wet. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Facebook can't be held liable for what its users post on it, or for its refusal to take those posts down. Moreover, because the posts are so patently satirical, Thompson can't make out a case of infliction of emotional distress anyway. The posts are not, by any stretch of the imagination, "true threats," as no rational person would think they show a genuine intent to inflict harm. The standard is what a reasonable person would think, not what a deranged disbarred attorney would think.
Read the complaint, with Jack's tale of woe. But then, if you don't already know it, be sure to read Thompson's history, particularly the things he did to get disbarred, lest you feel any sympathy for him. Jack Thompson is a litigation terrorist.
Jack's mad, as he usually is, because those Facebook posts make him look like an ass. But if Jack is going to sue everything that contributes to making him look like an ass, then I advise logic, sentience, written language, and God to contact their insurance carriers.
By the way, Paragraph 9 of Thompson's complaint suggests that he was inspired to sue Facebook because Facebook responded so quickly to take down the "should Obama be killed" poll, yet did not heed his entreaties to take down the mean things people said about him. That's amusing.
Edited to add: More amusement: Andrew Eisen of GamePolitics, which is very critical of Thompson but gets press releases from him anyway, asks Thompson if he tried using the "report group" function. Thompson calls Eisen a "total moron." So Eisen clicks on "report group" for the "$50 to punch Thompson" group, and the group is removed within a day. Eisen didn't even have to file a federal suit! Lesson to Thompson: you catch more flies with the honey of a site's established fly-catching procedures than you do with the vinegar of being a raving lunatic.
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