Censorship is a growing problem, and in fact the biggest threat to free speech in the U.S. is not from the government, it's from private actors.
Imagine you learn that someone has committed a crime or engaged in other harmful conduct. You exercise your free speech rights to write about this person.
Or imagine you receive shoddy service at a restaurant or are scammed by a business. You speak out.
Now imagine you receive a very scary letter from a lawyer. This lawyer threatens to sue you. Take down your article, apologize immediately, or prepare to go deep into debt.
I was the victim of a bully who tried to censor me.
After a lawyer gave his client poor representation, I spoke out. Along with the Washington Post, American Bar Association, and dozens of other lawyers, I was named as a defendant in a case later styled Rakofsky v. the Internet.
This case could have bankrupted me, and I incurred substantial legal fees. As I was sued in New York State, I had no remedies. New York does not have an anti-SLAPP law worth a damn.
Even though the case against me was frivolous, I had to pay my lawyer each month. My legal bills would have been staggering had a local New York personal injury lawyer, Eric Turkewitz, not provided representation as New York local counsel to me and my co-defendants.
Could you afford substantial legal bills, or would you be required to fold?
If I had not been a lawyer confident in the outcome who could also afford to pay legal fees, I'd have been silenced.
Another censorious bully tried silencing me. California's anti-SLAPP law saved me.
When I learned a wealthy former NFL player had played a role in covering up sexual misconduct in the Vikings locker room, I called him out. He was outraged and threatened to sue me.
As he was a rich man, I knew the lawsuit threat was not empty. He had the means and motivation to bully me into silence.
California's anti-SLAPP law saved me from a frivolous lawsuit.
I invited him to file his lawsuit. As a California resident, I have no fear of frivolous defamation lawsuits.
California has an anti-SLAPP law, which means anyone who files a frivolous lawsuit against me will be forced to pay my legal fees.
Nevada's anti-SLAPP law is under attack.
If Nevada successfully repeals its anti-SLAPP legislation, other states will follow suit. Rich bullies will have a playbook to censor critics.
If you live in Nevada, let your voice be heard. You can leave a comment to the legislators here.
You can also find out more information at Marc Randazza's law blog. Mr. Randazza was my free speech lawyer in both of the cases I mentioned above, and he himself helped draft Nevada's anti-SLAPP legislation.
Free speech ain't free. Let your voice be heard today or be silenced tomorrow!
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