This Week In Free Speech Hypocrites: 'Free Speech' Supporter Sheila Gunn Reid Gleefully Sues Someone For Calling Her A Neo-Nazi
from the well,-now-that-you-mention-it... dept
What is it with people who pretend to be free speech “warriors” only to rush to sue someone for stating an opinion about them? And why are so many of them Canadian?!? We’ve already covered folks like Jordan Peterson suing a university because some professors said mean things about him in a private meeting, and Gavin McInnes suing SPLC for calling the group he founded a “hate group.” And now we have Sheila Gunn Reid, who works for The Rebel Media, which is sort of the Canadian equivalent of Breitbart. Sheila pretends to be a free speech supporter in dozens upon dozens of tweets. Here are just a few:
Given all of the above, it seems pretty clear that Sheila Gunn Reid would be one heck of a hypocrite to then sue someone for stating an opinion, such as calling her a “neo-Nazi.” Hell, she even stated publicly in the past (see the last tweet above) that she believes it’s free speech for someone to call her a Nazi. She’s right. Or, well, she was back then.
A scientist named Dave Barrett referred to Sheila as a “neo-Nazi” and rather than “believing in free speech” even for people who call her a Nazi or who disagree with her, she apparently sued him, and he settled by agreeing to pay $1,200, along with his own legal fees, and posted an apology to her, which he’s pinned to the top of his feed for 30 days, which was part of the settlement agreement. And she’s now gloating about it in a pinned tweet of her own:
Now, yes, it’s true that this happened in Canada, and that Canada’s constitutional free speech protection is not nearly as strong as the First Amendment. And, as we all know, defamation lawsuits can be quite expensive, leading to astounding pressure to settle such a case. That said, it does seem quite fair to point out that Sheila Gunn Reid is not a free speech supporter but a huge free speech hypocrite. As some of her earlier tweets suggested, you don’t get to call yourself a free speech supporter and then use the power of the courts to attack someone over their speech, silence them, and force them to make compelled speech about you. That’s not how it works. And, it certainly seems like “situational ethics” for Sheila to do so while still pretending to care one iota about free speech.
And, I’m sure that some folks will come along and make an argument that “defamation is not free speech” or (worse) that suing over defamation has nothing to do with free speech (or, even worse, saying that a civil lawsuit isn’t about an attack on free speech because it’s not the government). All of those statements would be wrong. First off, giving your opinion of someone, even if it’s critical, like saying you believe them to be a neo-Nazi is not defamation. It’s an opinion. Opinions are not defamatory. Suing over someone’s speech always has to do with free speech. And even though it’s a civil suit between two parties, it’s using the power of the state in the form of the courts and the judicial system, to punish someone for their speech, which makes it inherently using government power to attack them on the basis of their speech.
In a video, Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant flat out admits that this is part of his and Sheila’s plan to silence critics:
“It’s about the specific deterrent. I don’t think Dave Barrett is going to take a run at Sheila any time soon. And it’s about the general deterrent. And what I mean by that is I hope other people see that and say “oh, okay, um, maybe I won’t call Sheila a Nazi, maybe I won’t call anyone at Rebel a Nazi…. Maybe I won’t call any conservative a Nazi.”
Okay. We won’t call you a Nazi, Ezra. We’ll call you a censorial bully who admits to abusing the law to stifle criticism, despite pretending to support free speech. Saying you hope others won’t state their opinion because you abused the court system over someone else’s speech shows that. Hilariously, just a few days before this video, Ezra was on a podcast where he said the following:
?I?m unaware of conservatives suing liberals in nuisance suits to shut them them up for political purposes… it?s only the other way.?
He said this at the very moment that he (a self-proclaimed conservative) was suing a liberal in a nuisance suit to shut them up, as he directly admits in that video.
Incredibly, Ezra goes on and on in the video about how this is about “fighting back” and “standing up for principles” and then promises to sue anyone who ever calls anyone at the Rebel a “Nazi.” Hilariously, Ezra goes on to say that you’re still allowed to criticize him, but only if he thinks it’s “legitimate criticism.” That’s not how free speech works. He goes on to also say that The Rebel is suing a bunch of protestors who convinced theaters not to host Rebel Media events — which is again an attack on free speech.
You might not be Nazis, Ezra and Sheila, but you’re huge, censorial hypocrites and now everyone knows that.