'Lawyer' For Wang-Handled Santa Tries To Stifle Reports About Santa's Wang-Handling

from the everybody-wang-chung-tonight dept

If there is one single lesson to be learned from the Streisand Effect, it’s that the cover up is always worse than the crime. This comes into play often when people or companies turn to their legal teams to stifle news and speech about their transgressions. What ends up happening is that news about the original sin spreads in supercharged fashion by being in the news twice while simultaneously making the attempted speech-stifler look all the more evil and/or petty. We saw this when media members went after parody Twitter accounts, when professional sports leagues attempted to stifle documentaries about how dangerous their sport is, and when famous people have attempted to erase online reports of their less-than-stellar acts. So, what’s worse than someone attempting to stifle speech by threatening legal action via their attorneys? How about when there is no attorney and the legal threat comes from the subject of the articles impersonating an attorney?

Hey, everyone, it’s Christmas time, which in various cities apparently means that there is something called SantaCon where a bunch of people with too much time on their hands occasionally dress up as Kris Kringle and then start drinking heavily with others dressed like Santa. Sometimes those Santa-clones have a bit too much of the old Irish eggnog and attempt to get their North Pole cleansed in public by the woman who agrees to date said Santa-clone. And then, sometimes, that Santa-clone gets embarrassed and an online news publication (in this case, Gawker) gets a letter threatening legal action if the post is not taken down. The letter was signed by a Tyler Van Buren, Esq. (Esq. means practicing lawyer — and also that you’re pompous), and it included this threat:

My client is a successful New York business man who was simply trying to get home with his girlfriend who had a little bit too much to drink while at SantaCon. The articles that have been posted are extremely hurtful, derogatory, and are simply a defamation of character. The accusations being made have no merit and no basis and are not only inappropriate, but damaging for my client and his girlfriend’s reputation and their respective careers.

I am drafting up a lawsuit as we speak and I will pursue several charges against the Huffington Post for the untrue, damaging, and hurtful article that has been posted about my client and his girlfriend. Unless this article is removed within the next 24 hours I fully expect to seek damages for my client and his girlfriend. I imagine that this is something your legal team does not want to deal with, but I have been retained by my client and I am fully prepared to seek corrective actions.

Please give me a call at [REDACTED] at any time to discuss this matter or confirm that the posting will be removed.


Tyler Van Buren, Esq.

Here’s where this gets fun. Gawker, being the hilariously antagonistic fun-bags they are, decided to do a little digging on Tyler Van Buren, Esq. What they came up with is initially quite confusing. Checking the Google+ page associated with the email account from which they got the threat, as well as searches for Van Buren’s name in LinkedIn, suggest Van Buren is not a lawyer at all. Instead, he’s almost certainly a biology graduate from UCSD who works as a Specialty Pharmaceuticals Analyst for Cowen & Company, headquartered in New York City. Checks in various states’ directories of attorneys also did not turn up a Tyler Van Buren.

So what’s the deal? Gawker then reveals their final card:

Lastly, while we initially didn’t post a second (since removed) video from “Peeping John” Wilson’s Instagram page showing a much clearer image of Tyler Van Buren, Esq.’s client, we now feel it’s worth a closer look:

That sure looks like the same dude to me. Which means that the Santa getting a handy and Tyler Van Buren are likely the same person and Van Buren misrepresented himself as an attorney threatening legal action. That’s going to be a problem, since New York law is pretty clear that you’re not allowed to do that. Impersonating a lawyer is a fairly serious offense. So I guess we’ll have to open up a new category in our Streisand Effect Hall Of Fame for people who not only made their situations worse by going legal, but may actually have brought legal action on themselves as a result. Golf claps for you, Santa jerk!

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Comments on “'Lawyer' For Wang-Handled Santa Tries To Stifle Reports About Santa's Wang-Handling”

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out_of_the_blue says:

"Impersonating a lawyer" = violating the medieval guild's rules.

One of the many monopolies in supposed “free market” capitalism is the Lawyer’s Guild, which because all courts such a case might be tried in are under control of a guild member, are able to impose law where actually is none. — Abraham Lincoln, for instance, didn’t have to get permission or go through the nutty secret rituals to put out his shingle as a lawyer. That guild is one of the key monopolies that must be pulled down.

Rest of this piece is trivial; Timmy whizzes right by (and on) the true crimes. — BUT by the way, Timmy, “coverup worse than crime” comes from Watergate, pretty sure, not the vaunted quip of He Who Writes Your Paycheck.

Techdirt Axiom #1: Mike once quipped “Streisand Effect” = he’s the authority on every topic.


Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: "Impersonating a lawyer" = violating the medieval guild's rules.

Abraham Lincoln, for instance, didn’t have to get permission or go through the nutty secret rituals to put out his shingle as a lawyer.

Now Blue is rewriting history to back up his stupid assertions.

Abraham Lincoln, although self-educated, still had to pass the bar in order to practice law – just like anyone else:

In 1836, Lincoln successfully passed the Illinois bar exam. From 1842 to 1846, he practiced law. (Source)

Scote (profile) says:

Esq. does not nesesarily mean lawyer

Although the term Esq. (for esquire, as in “Squire,” or gentleman) has been pompously appropriated by lawyers in the us, it isn’t actually a protected term. Anyone can call themselves “esquire” so long as they don’t try to falsely imply they are a lawyer. Though trying to falsely imply he’s a lawyer does seem to be exactly what Tyler Van Buren, “Esq.” seems to be doing based on the totality of his letter.

From the wiki:

“The title Esquire is not allocated by the law of any State to any profession, class, or station in society. Because it is commonly employed by lawyers, however, use by an unlicensed person may be evidence of the unauthorized practice of law, which can subject a person to sanctions by a state bar association. The concern is that by appending “Esq.” to his or her name, a person may create a false perception of acting in the capacity of a lawyer, which might induce a layman to consider the person to be an attorney, and create an attorney-client relationship.”

Meanwhile, in Britain, where the term comes from, Esq. does not mean lawyer in any way shape or form:

“The breadth of Esquire (as Esq.) had become universal in the United Kingdom by the mid 20th century, with no distinction in status being perceived between Mr and Esquire. Esquire was used generally as the default title for all men who did not have a grander title when addressing correspondence, with letters addressed using the name in initial format (e.g., K.S. Smith, Esq.) but Mr being used as the form of address (e.g. Dear Mr Smith). In the 1970s, the use of Esq. started to decline, and by the end of the 20th century most people had stopped using it and changed to using Mr instead. Esq. is generally considered to be old-fashioned, but is still used by some individuals and organisations that wish to give the impression of being ‘traditional’ such as Christie’s and Berry Bros. & Rudd. British men invited to Buckingham Palace receive their invitations in an envelope with the suffix Esq. after their names, while men of foreign nationalities instead have the prefix Mr (women are addressed as Miss, Ms, or Mrs).[14] The same practice applies for other post from the palace (e.g., to employees).”

Anonymous Coward says:

Lawyer? I don't think so.

He speaks of his “client”. He speaks of “drafting a lawsuit”. He calls himself “Esq.”, and speaks of “seeking damages”. All of which MIGHT imply that he’s a member of the bar, but nowhere does he state he is an attorney. The entire contents of the letter could be an indication that he intends to seek legal counsel to accomplish his nefarious ends, not that he, himself can or intends to do it. Also the language in the “Demand Letter” is a little suspect. Not to mention naming himself with two President’s names. Tyler Van Buren indeed!

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