The ACLU has come to the defense of John Oliver, who is being sued by coal baron Bob Murray after a segment on his show featured a talking squirrel tellin Murray to eat shit. Because, comedy. Vanity Fair Link.
The brief, filed on Monday, is well worth reading in full, as it features some truly colorful writing. Consider, for example, the section headings, which include “Anyone Can Legally Say, ‘Eat Shit, Bob!’” and “All of John Oliver’s Speech Was Protected by the First Amendment. You Can’t Sue People for Being Mean to You, Bob.”
“It is a basic concept of free speech that you do not get to sue media organizations because you don’t like their coverage,” Jamie Lynn Crofts writes in the brief.
Since the LSAT is a very hard test, I’m not a lawyer. This does however sound a lot like “butthurt is not a tort.”
The thin skinned and easily offended are advised to just stop paying attention to critics. Not all things that make you mad are actionable. In fact most are not.
“This case is beyond meritless,” Crofts adds later. “It is offensive to the very ideals of free speech embodied in the First Amendment . . . It is apt that one of Plaintiffs’ objections to the show is about a human-sized squirrell [sic] named Mr. Nutterbutter, because this case is nuts. Which also begs the question: is Mr. Nutterbutter one of the 50 Doe Defendants included in this action?” (A “doe defendant” is a person who might be liable to the plaintiff but whose name is not yet known.)
Butthurt as tort. John Doe defendants. The word nuts. There are so many parallels with the Bill Schmalfeldt case.