Free Speech

"My client will not be bullied out of exercising his First Amendment right to make clear his belief that your client is a spoiled, brainless twit who is cheapening the political discourse in this country"

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This is something that looks like a parody but is not

Last month the conservative site RedState posted its second parody of Daily Beast contributor Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain. The author name on the post ("Totally Meghan McCain") and the content of the post ("Firstly in the first place, some people had a question about my very obvious statement, 'I don't necessarily agree that Rick Perry is George Bush on crack, but he could definitely be described as George Bush 2.0′"), clearly indicated that the post was parody. Nevertheless, Meghan McCain threatened to sue Red State.

Her lawyers sent a letter to the site's owners alleging that "these fake front page posts place Meghan McCain before the public in a false light which is highly offensive to a reasonable person," and that the RedState community "acted at least in reckless disregard as to their falsity and the false light in which Meghan McCain was being placed." RedState editor Erick Erickson said he was "confident that we are within our rights to parody and mock Meghan McCain on this," but removed the posts because "it is frankly not worth our time." 

The American Spectator's J.P. Freire got his hands on the letter sent to Meghan McCain's people by attorney Christopher Scott Badeaux, who is representing RedState satirist Leon Wolf. It. Is. Awesome: 

[T]he subject matter of your letter is a fairly obvious parody to any person of even barely functional literacy. Thus – and your client probably didn't tell you this – even she recognized that the posts were parodies (or "parody's," as she put it). At approximately 8:25 p.m. EDT on September 17th, your client posted to her Twitter feed, "I don't care about parody's(sic) or fake names – but falsely putting my name on someone else's writing is illegal." She then subsequently deleted this Tweet, presumably when someone told her that "parody's" were constitutionally protected and it might look bad in a subsequent lawsuit if she were caught admitting in public that these posts were obvious parodies. Not to worry: My client has screenshots.

(I treat as obvious humor the assertions in your letter that the parodies in question were appropriations of your client's likeness for advertising purposes, and that persons with no minimum contacts at all with California would in any way be susceptible to jurisdiction there. It is my sincere suggestion that your client do so as well.)

My client will not be bullied out of exercising his First Amendment right to make clear his belief that your client is a spoiled, brainless twit who is cheapening the political discourse in this country. Therefore, henceforth, the "Totally Meghan McCain" series may be found at http://pajamasmedia.com for your client's reading pleasure.

On the off chance that your client actually files the baseless litigation you threatened in your September 23, 2011 letter, Mr. Wolf will pursue all available remedies available under any applicable anti-SLAPP statutes, State law malicious prosecution/abuse of process actions, and/or Rule 11 sanctions. Although I do not envy you the Herculean task before you, please make sure your client understands the potential consequences to her personally – in addition to those her attorney would face – for pursuing this ill-advised course of action.

Read the rest of Freire's post here.  

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  1. Never thought I’d say this but “I like that lawyer”

  2. Now that’s good lawyering.

  3. Riggs has outed ProL.

    1. Riggs has also missed an opportunity for an alt-text full of win (and colostrum).

      He needs to get on the stick; short order cheffing the morning links is but one part of Reasoning.

      1. Being a pawn of the Kochtupus has made Riggs soft.

        1. Well, octopi are kind of flabby.

      2. No alt-text, but the file name almost makes up for it.

  4. Will Red State commenters be asked not to inflame Ms. McCain or her counsel?

    I hear there is precedent for the same.

    1. Has anyone else heard the rumor going around that Ms. McCain enjoys being fucked by sheep?

      1. Shhhh…

      2. I may or may not have heard such conjecture; IIRC something about, “…the apple not falling far from the tree.” Allegedly.

      3. It rubs the salt into its wounds.

    2. Mike, you really are a douche.

  5. The Twitter widget you’ve stuck on your site is causing Hit & Run to go haywire in my browser.

    1. The twitter and the facebook widgets suck ass and make hit and run a damn near unloadable site.

      1. Try loading it on a phone. I don’t know how rectal does it. It’s so slow it’s basically useless.

        1. The subject of that lest sentence is a little vague.

          1. It applies to both.

        2. I don’t know how rectal does it. It’s so slow it’s basically useless.

          Maybe your whole “rectal using a phone” hypothesis is false. Just sayin’.

      2. Are y’all using IE? Loads fine for me in Firefox and Chrome.

        1. Yeah, fine for me in Firefox with Adblock Plus.

        2. I’m using Firefox + Ad Block and it loads fine if using a proper desktop computer, but on my EEE netbook it takes an age for the site to load.

        3. It loads “fine”, Mike; just slow as shit for a normal website. It’s so heavy with social media tie-ins and ads that it makes Kirstie Alley look slim. Oh shit, she just lost a bunch of weight, right? Change that to Orson Wells.

          Just watch the link loader in your lower right/left on a page refresh in Firefox and you’ll see what I mean.

          1. And I don’t get the social media tie ins. Why follow it on face book or twitter when you can just go to the damned site?

            1. The same reason I read it on Google Reader – you can aggregate the content from a bunch of sites and save time. In the case of Facebook, you can see whenever something new is posted on Hit & Run while you creep on your friend’s pictures.

          2. There’s no known way of saying an English sentence in which you begin a sentence with ‘in’ and emphasize it. Get me a jury and show me how you can say “in July”, and I’ll go down on you. That’s just idiotic, if you’ll forgive me my saying so. That’s just stupid, “in July”; I’d love to know how you emphasize ‘in’ in “In July”…impossible! Meaningless!

            1. So you only perform oral sex in front of a jury?

              I’ve heard of being sexually competitive but that takes the cake.

          3. It also has a memory leak. If I leave Hit and Run open for too long with no activity, the browser will eventually use all available system memory and give me an out of memory error. I’ve seen this on three different computers running IE.

            1. I’ve never seen that behavior in Firefox on the Mac. The site is slow as shit to load though.

            2. I have this issue as well. Microsoft claims it isn’t an issue with IE, and they are probably correct since it is not the only browser to exhibit the behaviour. FF and Chrome artificially limit the amount of memory they use and Reason will still peg those browsers to their maximum memory allocation as well.

        4. It’s smashingly quick to load in Opera.

    2. which is why I run Firefox with Noscript. I have the twitter and facebook parts turned off… and the ads.

      1. I can’t install that because I have to run my company’s website in Firefox and there are scripts. Otherwise, that would be gold.

        1. Use NoScript, you can exclude your company’s website int he preferences.

          1. OK, will do.

          2. Hey, what setting do I need to change to allow handles with emails to show? It’s blocking whatever script must run on email addresses embedded in handles.

            Website embeds show just fine.

            1. Never mind, I fixed it.

            2. Allow Reason.com

    3. the Reasonable extension for Chrome mitigates this problem nicely.

    4. Generally speaking, accessing the Reason website from a mobile browser sucks balls. Way too much overhead on the site.

      Add commenting to the app and I’ll gladly pay for it.

  6. course by now even wingnutz like erickson must see perry fading. but perry is no boosch since other republicans will share the same stage w him.

    1. Most of that stuff isn’t even words. This is a thread about Megan McCain.

      1. u mean this thread is about erickson’s reaction to mccain’s description of perry

        1. herpity flerp derp

      2. Whoever is the double asshole sockpuppet must be having a field day coming up with the grammar and spelling. It’s working like a charm on this website.

        1. however its spelt (sic), john got it incorrect.

  7. That’s a bitch slap with a metal gauntlet.

    1. Is there a Renaissance Fayre in her local vicinity handy?

  8. Are sheep made of food?

    1. Yes…100% Bean Curd.

    2. Man, Meghan, those are a really magnificent pair of melons you have there. Would give a lot to do some motor boating between them. Sexy and dumb as a red brick. Who could ask for more?

      1. Don’t forget she is also gonna inherit a beer distributorship.

  9. She may have a small brain but she does have a great rack. If you like them a bit thick, McCain kind of has it going. If you could just keep her from talking.

    1. I have a cunning plan.

      1. Blackadder: There is however one slight flaw in the plan; you’re the worst cook in the entire world!
        Baldrick: Oh yeah.
        Blackadder: There are amoeba on Saturn who could boil a better egg than you. Your filet mignons in sauce bernaise look like dog turds in glue!
        Baldrick: That’s because they are.
        Blackadder: Your plum duff tastes like it’s a molehill decorated with rabbit droppings.
        Baldrick: I thought you wouldn’t notice…
        Blackadder: And your cream custard has the texture of cat vomit.
        Baldrick: Again, it’s…
        Blackadder: If you were to serve up one of your meals at Staff HQ, you’d be arrested for the greatest mass poisoning since Lucretia Borgia invited 500 of her close friends for a wine and anthrax party!

  10. So….thick and sturdy….like a tractor….

  11. This is the letter reason should have sent to the guy who sued over H&R reader comments that alleged bestiality.

    1. Excellent point. I hope the Kochs put this guy on retainer.

      1. maybe he would advise them to stop the systemic bribing of foreign officials and pressuring of employees to perjure and prevaricate.

        1. You’re a bore. 8 times over decades is not systemic.

          If they gave some money to Ron Paul, would you feel better?

          1. The ad hominem attack reveals the utter bankruptcy of your position.

            Evidence abounds supporting the proposition that Koch Industries and Koch boys are not paragons of libertarian virtue.

            Sorry if the facts discredit your narrative.

            1. Maybe the Kochs should give money to Rand Paul. You do know that Senator Paul opined that companies who dump benzene into the air and water should go to jail.

              1. The Cocks have consistently demonstrated that they have no respect for property rights.

  12. That’s some good lawyering, there. I doff my top hat to Mr. Badeaux.

    1. does eaux mean ass in french?

      1. If it doesn’t, it should.

  13. You’d think that after the Larry Flynt verdict, humorless dipshits wouldn’t waste their time trying to block parodies that have been confirmed protected under the 1st Amendment. This isn’t the UK.

    1. It sucks to be sued even if you are right. Most people will roll over just to avoid trouble. So they get away with it.

      1. What I don’t understand is why it costs so much to defend against these stupid, frivolous lawsuits. Seems to me you should just go before the judge and say that the suit is stupid and should be dismissed. Seems odd and unreasonable that you need a lawyer to get rid of cases as stupid as this one or Reason’s troubles with Mr. [fillintheblank].

        1. Judges work to protect the cartel and piss on anyone who doesn’t hire a lawyer.

          1. Fuck. I guess that would explain it. Here I am thinking that a judge should be pissed that some dipshit is wasting his time. Silly me.

            1. As long as the judge and his fellow cartel members are getting paid, the time is not wasted.

          2. udges work to protect the cartel and piss on anyone who doesn’t hire a lawyer.

            ^This. The failures of the justice system lead to failures all across society.

      2. My brother’s being sued by Richard Barton right now. He wrote a blog article for Examiner.com calling him an admited liar (with citations of the occurence) and he’s being sued for libel. I’m going to point him to this lawyer!

      3. It sucks to be sued even if you are right. Most people will roll over just to avoid trouble. So they get away with it.

        By the closing of his letter, I gather that Mr. Badeaux agrees:

        On a personal and professional note, I am of the firm conviction that the world is a worse place because of unscrupulous lawyers who force people and companies to forego their legal rights simply because they don’t want to pay the fees lawyers to defend themselves ? even from suits that are meritless on their face. It is particularly obnoxious when it is used as an effort to chill free speech ? political speech, no less ? as has become all too common in response to unflattering internet postings.

        This sort of activity is condemned by the every State Bar association of which I am aware, and is contrary to both the letter and spirit of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Made into a lawsuit, it is also a ground for sanctions.

        Govern yourself accordingly.

  14. Too bad that one guy isn’t famous enough for it to be worth Reason’s money to humiliate him like this. Fuck that one guy.

    1. Why stop at one?

      1. I mean, I once took on 20 guys at once in a men’s room, oh, wait…

        1. Tony, do you know the poster named The Professional Critic? Under what other names has he posted?

          Upthread, you’ll note that he resorted to the ad hominem attack regarding my criticisms of the Koch boys.

          1. Stop crying, you’ll ruin your makeup.

  15. Meghan McCain is self parody.

    Maybe she should sue herself.

  16. On a personal and professional note, I am of the firm conviction that the world is
    a worse place because of unscrupulous lawyers who force people and companies to
    forego their legal rights simply because they don’t want to pay the fees lawyers to defend
    themselves ? even from suits that are meritless on their face. It is particularly obnoxious
    when it is used as an effort to chill free speech ? political speech, no less ? as has become
    all too common in response to unflattering internet postings.

    Whole letter

    Including such gems as:

    I confess that I first took the letter itself as a metatextual parody. To my surprise, on a re-reading, I discovered that you were apparently serious.

    1. The metatextual parody bit was also my favorite. I made a bowl of popcorn to finishing reading that masterpiece.

  17. Looking at that picture, I just wonder how many boyfriends have given her a pearl necklace.

    1. Um…all of them! I mean the equipment is right there for convenient use.

      Wouldn’t you?

  18. This is a good letter from a lawyer. But this one from 1974 is still the best ever.

    http://lastangryfan.com/2010/1…..legendary/

    1. John, have you ever used your evil lawyer powers for shit like this? I imagine it’s incredibly satisfying to write a fuck-you letter on legal letterhead.

      1. A few times. Back when I first started in the Army and was doing legal assistance. I had some great fun at the expense of crooked used car places and dead beat ex husbands. Those were always fun. The only problem was your clients were often liars. So you had to be damn sure said car dealership were the crooks and not the guy in your office giving you the sob story.

        1. You mean like John Derek gave to Humphrey Bogart in Knock on Any Door (1949)?

  19. “Although I do not envy you the Herculean task before you, please make sure your client understands…”

    Priceless.

  20. Meghan McCain’s lawyer doesn’t give a shit. He gets paid by the hour. Probably tells his colleagues lots of good jokes about his client.

  21. Hold on… What did Megan McCain do again? I’ve barely even heard of her? Why the hate? (frivolous lawsuit aside.)

    1. Because she’s another statist piece of shit, just like her dad and Dubya.

      1. Well that’s cool and all, but you should give me an example that I can look up and decide for myself.

        1. Google her name. Go from there.

          1. Yeah, I am. She seems a little dumb, but hardly seems worth getting worked up about.

            1. She’s just like totally vapid, and soooo not interested in all that boring stuff like numbers and history and uhhh! But still her opinion is totally important, she speaks for young and gay americans! Don’t h8, h8rs!

  22. The whole thing is great, but damn:

    My client will not be bullied out of exercising his First Amendment right to make clear his belief that your client is a spoiled, brainless twit who is cheapening the political discourse in this country.

    That’s glorious.

  23. amazing letter. Nothing like an ESD letter to brighten the day.

    1. Some call them MDP letters (masticate defecation and perish).

      1. I like that.

  24. “these fake front page posts place Meghan McCain before the public in a false light which is highly offensive to a reasonable person”

    Well, that’s odd. I’m a reasonable person and I didn’t think it was offensive at all. It was a hilarious example of the parody’s.

  25. But…those massive tits!

    1. She has big knockers. And a pretty good face. It’d be cool if she lost like 25lbs and got into porn. She could share her editorial positions while wrestling cawks. …brb

      1. She has big knockers.

        So do a lot of other fat chicks.

  26. I am Meghan McCain.

    1. Send pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

  27. Is it me or do push-up bras rule?

  28. “as to their falsity and the false light …”
    Are we sure McCain’s lawyer’s letter isn’t also a parody?

  29. Ah, lawyers… bringing mirth and merriment to all.

    And yeah, Meghan McCain might not be the brightest bulb in the ol’ chandelier, but when it comes with a rack like that, I really don’t care.

    1. Kind of how reason feels about the Cocks-they may not exactly be Rothbardian, but, hey, they have some cash………..

      1. Well, we can’t all be petulant racist neoconfederates.

        1. Name one state sponsored rule, regulation, law, policy, etc. based on race that I support.

          If you can, I will cum all over whomever you direct.

    2. Her IQ is 40DD.

  30. Meghan McCain and Barack Obama are proof that a degree from Columbia is worthless.

  31. Meghan McCain’s family gave us Sarah Palin.

    Meghan McCain deserves all of the parody/mockery which is sent her way.

    Payback can be hellish.

  32. I’ll take her case!

  33. MEGHAN MCCAIN SMASH.

  34. presumably when someone told her that “parody’s” were constitutionally protected

    Parodies aren’t constitutionally protected. They are protected by the fair use doctrine, but that arises from common law, separate from the Constitution or BoR.

  35. Of course left unsaid is the same cheapening of politcal discourse by Leon Wolf, Erikson and others on RedState. I’m quite happy to see them have to waste time on this. Perhaps we can get lucky and they farm out their next website update to BOA.

  36. Meghan … you’re so … you’re so … BIG!

  37. Does anyone else find it tragic that the offspring of even a rich homewrecking bimbo and her expendable gigolo politician husband, who presumably was given the best schooling her grandfathers’ ill-gotten, government-privileged gains could buy, is barely literate?

    -jcr

  38. A worthy recipient of approbriam I’m sure but her father who killed over 160 fellow Forestall crew members on the day he was hastily transferred to the Orinsky (to preserve his life to be sure) after his “pranking” of the F4 pilot parked directly behind the Skyhawk he was piloting. What a fireball that kid was. I mean the F4 pilot. And then the bombs and fuel tanks going off. Too bad the son of an Admiral and grandson of an Admiral could not watch the aftermath of the fireworks. But then he had some more bad piloting to do and some treasonous statement to make. Oh, and all the whoring while supposedly being “tortured” into making those statements. I wonder why we are not able to read about those Viet Nam era records. Could it be because McCain himself has made sure of that blackout? That this person should display such characteristics is a HUGE improvement on the tree from which she fell.

    1. “I wonder why we are not able to read about those Viet Nam era records.”

      Because they don’t exist separate from overactive imaginations?

  39. The title makes it sound like this article’s about the OWS sheep.

  40. OUCH! Now that’s my kind of lawyer!

  41. Hey Mike,
    Excellent bit of journalism! And thanks for not embarrassing yourself or Reason like you did with that Ron Paul bit on Thom Hartmann’s show.

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