Previous month:
December 2014
Next month:
March 2015

Peter Coffin Sends Bogus Legal Threat to 8Chan? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: I was able to get in contact with attorney who allegedly sent the email below. He did not send this email and he is not representing Peter Coffin. Someone is impersonating the attorney online.

I'll post commentary later. The commentary will essentially mirror the response I made to Julien Blanc's lawyer.

> Date: January 28, 2015 at 11:42:29 AM GMT+8

> From: Greg Smith <gregsmithattorneyslc@gmail.com>
> To: admin@8chan.co
>
> CEASE AND DESIST
>
> [DATE]
>
> By Certified Mail
>
>
>
>
> Dear 8chan admin:
>
>      This law firm represents Peter Coffin. If you are represented by
> legal counsel, please direct this letter to your attorney immediately
> and have your attorney notify us of such representation.
>
>      You are hereby directed to
>
> CEASE AND DESIST ALL DEFAMATION OF
> PETER COFFIN’S CHARACTER AND REPUTATION.
>
>      Peter Coffin is an educated, respected professional in the
> community. He has spent years serving the community and building a
> positive reputation. Peter Coffin has learned that you have engaged in
> spreading false, destructive, and defamatory rumors about her.
>
>      Under Utah law, it is unlawful to engage in defamation of
> another’s character and reputation.  Defamation consists of
>
> (1)  a statement that tends to injure reputation;
> (2) communicated to another; and
> (3) that the speaker knew or should have known was false.
>
>      Your defamatory statements involved multiple webpages on your
> website spreading false lies regarding Peter Coffin and his family.
>
>      Accordingly, we demand that you (A) immediately cease and desist
> your unlawful defamation of Peter Coffin and (B) provide us with
> prompt written assurance within ten (10) days that you will cease and
> desist from further defamation of Peter Coffin’s character and
> reputation and (C) make an official public apology for the lies spread
> on your website, preferably on Twitte with the hashtag
> "#PETERCOFFINWASRIGHT" attached to said apology.
>
>      If you do not comply with this cease and desist demand within
> this time period, Peter Coffin is entitled to seek monetary damages
> and equitable relief for your defamation. In the event you fail to
> meet this demand, please be advised that Peter Coffin has asked us to
> communicate to you that she will pursue all available legal remedies,
> including seeking monetary damages, injunctive relief, and an order
> that you pay court costs and attorney’s fees.  Your liability and
> exposure under such legal action could be considerable.
>
>      Before taking these steps, however, my client wished to give you
> one opportunity to discontinue your illegal conduct by complying with
> this demand within ten (10) days.  Accordingly, please respomd with
> your decision in a timely fashion
>
[Name/Law Firm REDACTED]
>
>      I recommend that you consult with an attorney regarding this
> matter.  If you or your attorney have any questions, please contact me
> directly.
>
> Sincerely,
>
>
> [REDACTED] Attorney at law.
 
 
 
 
 

Mike Cernovich: Based Lawyer of GamerGate (Response)

"This, sadly, was not always the dichotomy — his blog, going back to 2004 as a law student, paints the picture of a far tamer, more reasonable man, interested in cases of authority figures abusing their stations, and where justice was denied to the weak." - Manfred Von Karma

How does someone go from a rather nice guy to, well, the man I have become. I'm actually a really nice guy in person, but let's assume, as the author of a recent expose on me does, that I am "perfectly sociopathic."

What happened? The key to understanding me is reading this article and following what has been done to liberals, feminists, and other nice people who post under the hashtag #GamerGate.

1. The author of the article did not email me for comment.

Before writing several thousand words on someone, why not send him or her an email for comment? But that's not how journalism is done these days.

Rather than have an open dialogue where people try understanding one another, you mine through a person's Tweets, take them out of context, and paint whatever monstrous picture you like.

By failing to give a person a chance to respond, you create people like me.

I have a choice. I could be sensible and reasonable. But lord save my soul if I make one errant Tweet or use the wrong terminology when discussing the most recent oppressed group of the day.

Rather than walk on egg shells, more people are stomping the eggs and laughing in your faces while we do it.

This is, again, a response to your conduct. When you treat people unfairly they have no interest in playing by any of your rules.

2. The author doesn't understand how hypocritical they look.

I recently had a YouTube debate when a man who, according to reports, laughed about the rapes committed by Gerald Arthur "Jerry" Sandusky. This fellow I debated would walk around the locker room with a hole in his butt area, calling himself a Sandusky victim.

That's some sick shit - and it's far worse than any my Tweets people cry about - and yet no one has called him out on that.

My criticis are insufferable hypocrites.

And their hypocrisy does not extend to me, a white man who can be attacked for any reason. This hypocrisy extends towards women.

While accusing me of harassment for writing about people on the Internet, they refuse to recognize what happened to Justine Sacco.

2a. Justice Sacco's story.

Justine Sacco is a hipster who had all of the right views. On her way to Africa, she made an ironic joke.

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

See, Justice Sacco and the Self-Inflicted Perilds of Twitter.

Sacco boarded her airplane, turned her telephone off, and prepared herself for a long flight.

Unknown to her, the hate mob had already formed.

No one (see point 1) asked her for comment. If they had, they'd have realized it was an ill-advised meta-commentary on how (in her view) white people view AIDS.

In Sacco's view, white people viewed AIDS as a black problem. Sacco was channelling the voice of the white people she hated. Sacco was one of the good guys!

Sam "Bring Back Bullying" Biddle started the hate mob. He was quickly joined by Anil Dash, who leaps at any opportunity to ruin lives. See, Moral Panics and the Death of Fun by Pax Dickinson.

Anil Dash used his 400,000 Twitter followers to terrorize a woman over a Tweet that was meant as an ironic joke.

A hashtag was created called #HasJustineLandedYet. Tens of thousands of people began threatening Sacco's livelihood and life. 

Before Ms. Sacco could land, the mob was salivating.

When Sacco lost her job, the mob rejoiced. When she found a new job, Sam Biddle tried forming a hate mob again to cost her the second job.

When you form hate mobs to attack some people while ignoring the misconduct committed by your own side, you're not impressing anyone.

Reasonable people see that double standard in action and are sickened by it. 

3. (Again!) The author doesn't understand how smug and hypocritical they look.

The assessment of the "debate" is amusing as the author clearly doesn't understand my intent. My intent going into the debate was:

  • Don't look like an asshole.
  • Let the other guy look like an asshole.

Could I have "out assholed the asshole"? Sure, but how would that have benefitted me or helped get the truth about #GamerGate out there?

Anyone who watches that video will see someone (me) trying to have a genuine conversation with someone. They'll watch the other guy smugly ignore and dismiss and run from any point I make.

When people say that GamerGate is made up of evil people, show them that video. When people say I am a violent sociopath, show them that video.

If people think I lost the debate or look like I was being bullied, great! 

My goal was to make my critics look like assholes. I succeeded. 

4. My critics have no respect for the rule of law.

The author of the piece is either a lawyer or someone who gets the law. No lawyer has said I have broken any laws or that my conduct does not fall well within the limits of acceptable speech by a lawyer. Von Karma concedes this point:

As has already been mentioned, Mike Cernovich is certainly smart. His methods of agitation are all perfectly legal, and perfectly sociopathic.

Since my conduct is legal, how does the author explain the following:

  • I have had State Bar called on me. Quinn, Kluwe, Harper, and the whole crew has linked to the State Bar phone number repeatedly. I have lost track actually.
  • I have had LAPD called on me. Nuance alert: The claim is  they didn't call the police directly; they reported me via CrimeStoppers! 
  • I have not broken any laws. Everything I have said has been well-within my First Amendment rights, so calling in "crime tips" about me is frivolous. 

Has Von Karma called out anyone for calling the police and making frivolous bar complaints against me?

Of course not!

5. My critics have no sense of decency or remorse.

Von Karma accuses me of harassment and other offenses (even while conceding I have broken no laws; how's that for cognitive dissonance?) because I hired a private investigator.

What Von Karma failed to report is that before retaining a PI I asked for an apology.

Before retaining a private investigator I asked Ms. Pless and Quinn for an apology for sharing my personal information with tens of thousands of people.

I didn't ask that anyone grovel or kiss my feet.

They are in their 20s. I understand people say stupid shit in the heat of the moment. No big deal, if the person says, "My bad. I misspoke." 

They mocked me. Fair enough. We all make choices in life.

Now they cry and expect me to care. I do not. 

6. The double standards my critics live by is sickening.

If I wrote an article about one of them giving their address and detailed pictures and telling people to call the police, what do you suppose they would say?

Yes, I understand that we live in a patriarchy and as such I have institutional privilege.

This means you can lie about me online, falsely accuse me of making rape threats, call the police (or CrimeStoppers!) on me when I've broken no law, and attack my livelihood by calling the State Bar (even though I've done nothing illegal or unethical).

Gut check time.

Do you realize how fucking insane that double standard sounds to reasonable people?

7. My critics are driving liberals away from them and towards the right.

Most people who post under the #GamerGate hashtag are liberals. They are free speech advocates and experienced Internet funposters.

They recognize that most of my Tweets are either jokes or that I take a true point and turn the volume way up to get a conversation going.

They have watched, in real-time, the following:

  • The media lied about GamerGate, falsely claiming that GamerGate is a campaign of harassment rather than a consumer revolt against unethical jouranlism.
  • Open season on nerds was declared.
  • Bullying of the neuroatypical was encouraged.
  • Wikipedia has been discredited.
  • Minories, women, trans, teens have been doxed and attacked.
  • The crap that happened to me and other men. (Which doesn't count, because patriarchy!)

You are validating everything I write about the evils of "social justice" and radical feminism. You declared open season on white men, rationalizing it by saying your'e "punching up."

Yet now you're attacking people who dare to be friends with white men.

Do you think that's fair, decent, or even tactically sound?

8. Stop being smug, dismissive, hypocritical assholes.

They say you should never take advice from your enemy, so you are welcome to dismiss this as concern trolling.

But.

Have you made room for the possibility that you share any responsibility for what happened and that continuing to deny any responsibility is driving more people into thinking and behaving as I do?

Maybe you should stop being assholes to people, stop forming hate mobs, stop trying to get people fired from jobs, and stop throwing huge fits when otherwise decent people make a mistake.

Or you can drive more people to act like me.

The choice is yours.

 


Swatting Resource Page: What is Swatting and How to Avoid a Swatting?

Swatting has been in the news a lot recently. Swatting results when a prank caller (or often someone who does not approve of your political activities and wants to censor you) calls 9-1-1, telling the dispather than there is an emergency.

Due to VOIP and other software, it's possible to spoof your phone number. When the hoaxer calls 9-1-1, it will appear as if the call is coming from inside your home.

Often police are given dire scenarios. In one case the police were told that a man was holding a wife and child hostage.

Police arrive, often with machine guns. Innocent people often die as police are often mistaken an intruders to the unsuspecting victims of the Swatting.

I was almost a victim of a Swatting. I was able to avoid being Swatted a I had studied this phenomena. To learn more about Swatting, check out these resources.

Resources on Swatting:

Swatting in the News:

Videos of Swattings:

Swatting often happens to gamers. Gamers will live stream themselves playing video games. This alerts pranksters to the location of the gamers. 

Some of these Swattings have been caught on video. One famous Swatting incident involved the videogame YouTube channel Kootra. 

While playing a video game a SWAT team emerged. Because cameras were on, the Swatting was caught live on camera. Click play to watch it unfold.

The Creatures (Kootra) got SWAT Raided (SWATTED) #FreeKootra2014

Livestreamers Getting "Swatted"? What is swatting?

Swatting: US gamers’ pranks see armed cops target their online enemies

Swatting: The Bottom Line

Swatting can have life-altering consequences for the victims (who may be shot in an accidental shooting) and the perpetrators (who if caught may spend life in prison).

If you fear you may be the victim of a Swatting, call your local law enforcement immediately to inform them of the threat.


GamerGate is Not Swatting Anyone (But Zoe Quinn Tried Getting Mike Cernovich Swatted)

Is it possible to be Swatted for writing about #Gamergate? Indeed it is. I was almost Swatted, but it wasn't by people who post in the hashtag #GamerGate. No. I was Swatted by people who have claimed, falsely, that #GamerGate is about harassment of women.

"doxing & hacking & SWATing tend to be a package deal." - Zoe Quinn

Zoe-Quinn-Swating-Cernovich

Zoe Quinn has claimed to be a victim of harassment. And yet it was Zoe Quinn who was central to a conspiracy to get me (Mike Cernovich) Swatted.

Why did Zoe Quinn want to get me Swatted for writing about #GamerGate?

I'm a lawyer with a strong interest in the First Amendment and free speech issues. My legal writing has appeared in legal encyclopedias and has been cited in dozens of scholarly articles as well as multiple federal court opinions.

When I found out that Zoe Quinn had obtained a restraining order that clearly violated the First Amendment, I decided to look into the case. 

Rather than allow me to write about legal issues, which I have done since 2004, Zoe Quinn tried censoring me in the most horrible of ways. Zoe Quinn tried getting me Swatted.

On October 22, 2014, a college student named Margaret Pless published an article listing my home address. Ms. Pless's post contained detailed street view images of my home.

Before publishing the dox, Margaret Pless discussed her plans with Zoe Quinn.

"I'm preparing an article about Cernovich for my own site; I'll link to it here once it's published. I'm holding it because Zoe Quinn says she wants to talk to me." - Margaret Pless a/k/a idledillettante

Margaret-pless-zoe-quinn-cernovich-swatting

In Internet parlance, Margaret Pless "doxed" me, that is, she widely disseminated my information. 

Once the dox was published, Zoe Quinn sprung into action. She immediately Tweeted out a link to the article to her 30,000 followers. Some of Quinn's followers included people who had made death threats against me in the past. Quinn is also friendly with a convicted woman beater.

Ms. Quinn said of the article that doxed me, "The best gg journalism continues to originate in blogs and storifies." (Archive link.)

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.22.35 PMRecognizing  Quinn posed a threat to my safety, I hired a private investigator to conduct a risk assessment.

After doxxing me, Zoe Quinn and one of her lovers, Alex Lifschitz, made veiled death threats against me.

Believing that the dox did not adequately intimidate me, Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz, each went to Twitter asking for help. 

Lifschitz posted a series of Tweets that were designed to intimidate and scare me:

  • I guess what I'm saying is that this guy has gone from an annoyance to a credible threat. This is terrifying now. We need some help.
  • By "help," honestly, I don't know our options. We'd frankly like to feel safe. Now we have to look out for a spook on [Cernovich's] payroll.
  • And for someone who has already proven his willingness to release private details for spite, this is a massive, dangerous loose end.
  • Disbarment is not gonna stop this guy.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.26.52 PM

What sort of help was Lifschitz seeking? Clearly getting me in trouble with the State Bar was not what he wanted to have happen. What exactly was Lifschitz hoping one of his many Twitter followers would do to me?

Quinn herself recognizes, "doxing & hacking & SWATing tend to be a package deal." Quinn doxed me. What did she have planned next? 

When some suggested to Zoe Quinn that she try having me disbarred (for what, I don't know), she answered: 

  • "Disbarment takes years and it won't stop this freak."

Zoe-quinn-cernovich

Again, Quinn and Lifschitz did not believe that getting me disabarred was sufficient punishment for my "crime" of writing about the First Amendment.

As I had not (and still have not) committed any crimes, I could not be arrested. What were these people up to?

When read in isolation, these Tweets seem somewhat silly. In light of the dox, one cannot help but read them in a more ominous tone.

What do the experts say about Quinn's attempt to Swat me?

In addition to doxing me and soliciting help (while noting that disbarment isn't enough to stop me), Quinn also encouraged people to contact the State Bar of California on me. As I have done nothing unethical, her attempt to incite a mob to destroy by ability to practice law cannot be seen as anything other than cyberharassment.

Quinn's behavior is part of a course of conduct that an FBI expert on Swatting recognizes leads to Swatting.

I met personally with the nationwide experts on swatting in December 2011: the FBI office in Dallas, Texas. They told me that swatting is an extreme form of harassment — and that swatters typically combine swatting with other forms of harassment, including: complaining to the victim’s workplace, defaming the victim online, “Googlebombing” the victim, publishing the victim’s address online, filing phony reports of criminal activity by the victim, and so forth.

That is an interesting checklist, is it not?

How that checklist on Swatting apply to Quinn's pattern of behavior?

  • Complaining to the victim's workplace: Check, she called the State Bar on me.
  • Defaming the victim online: Check Quinn falsely accused me of several crimes, including harassment and stalking.
  • Googlebombing the victim: No.
  • Publishing the victim's address online: Check, Quinn doxed Cernovich.
  • Filining phony reports of criminal activity: Check, Quinn's co-conspiractor Margaret Pless called the LAPD on me and encouraged others to do the same.

Quinn's course of conduct hits five out of the six items on the Swatting checklist.

She could of course claim she didn't want to get me Swatted. That's the idea.

Quinn published my dox and requrests for help without asking anyone to actually Swat me. It's a clever strategy, is it not?

If I die, she is happy. But it's not her fault. 

She totally did not want to get me Swatted. She just doxed me because, well, because! And the "help" she wanted was, well, just help.

How dare you suggest she was up to no good!

I was almost Swatted for writing about GamerGate.

Again, I was not Swatted by people who are trying to reform journalism. I was almost Swatted by Zoe Quinn and others who have falsely claimed to be victims of harassment.