Civil Liberties

"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"


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 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.