Revenge Porn Dude Craig Brittain Files Hilariously Bad Lawsuit Against Twitter

from the not-how-it-works-craig dept

Ah, Craig Brittain is back. Never quite satisfied to recognize that after the FTC sanctioned him, his name is the equivalent of Pustule Nickelback McHitler II, he's continued to lead his life of ridiculousness online, alternating between declaring himself a free speech hero and pushing to censor all his critics. And let us not forget his Senate campaign race in Arizona, which seemed to focus on Brittain's strategy of insulting lots of people while declaring it was obvious he was going to win. That went so well that at the end of May it was revealed that he failed to get enough signatures and thus is not on the ballot.

Apparently having some extra free time on his schedule, he has sued Twitter, pro se of course. It's a fun read, and extra amusing as it comes just days after Chuck Johnson's lawsuit against Twitter on sorta similar grounds was tentatively tossed out of court. At least Johnson had an actual lawyer file his suit. Brittain's lawsuit, of course, cites the Packingham decision that a bunch of people have been misrepresenting to claim that it says social media can be considered a public forum. Brittain combines his misrepresentation of that opinion with a misrepresentation of the recent decision that President Trump cannot block followers, in order to claim that Twitter can't kick off any political candidate.

This lawsuit implicates Twitter's responsibility as a public forum as recently ruled in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump et. al... where the honorable Naomi Reice Buchwald, Judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled that President Donald J. Trump must unblock all Twitter users, regardless of the content of their messaging, and also ruled that President Trump's Twitter space is an interactive public forum. The ruling also implicates that Twitter itself is a public forum space under the US Constitution, and thus all First Amendment Protections (must) apple to its use.

Yeah, that's not what that ruling said at all, but, I guess you get points for trying?

In regards to Knight First Amendment Center v. Trump, Defendant must reasonably provide access to that public forum space by unsuspending all users who are followers of President Donald J. Trump or any other public official or candidate, as well as any/all public candidates and officials, whether they are supporters, critics, or neutral to the points of view of the President of the United States or any other candidate or elected official.

Likewise, being as President Donald J. Trump is one of many politicians whose tweets create such a public space, Twitter must extend that same public forum to followers and critics of all US politicians and subsequently all journalistic outlets, in order to protect two-way freedom of speech established by the First Amendment.

Two-way freedom of speech? That's a new one. I'm sure the court will just accept this totally made-up, nonsensical concept, especially right after you totally misrepresent the findings of the Knight Center ruling (in which Twitter wasn't even a party and in which Twitter was not required to do anything). The lawsuit also contains many paragraphs of meaningless nonsense about how Twitter is not a neutral platform, which... has no impact on anything (even if some people -- including some actual Senators -- want to pretend otherwise).

Also, this (capitalization in the original):

The loss of the Accounts is a Crippling Blow to Plaintiffs and Others, and presents a Chilling Effect to the First Amendment and other Constitutional Rights, where a Crippling Blow shall be defined as 'an unconscionable and substantial loss with no defined legal remedy or recourse', and a Chilling Effect shall be defined as 'an action which suppresses similar/related rights including but not limited to the First Amendment rights to access and utilize a public forum for speech as well as the desire of other users to speak out against similar actions, for fear of action(s) such as censorship, suspension/ban, shadowban or downranking being taken against them as well'.

That's all one sentence. Try to say it in a single breath. It's fun. Anyway, this is also not how law works, and clearly there's little need to go step by step over how wrong this is... but I'll just note that when you define your own made up tort as one "with no defined legal remedy or recourse" you've basically just admitted that your entire lawsuit is bullshit.

Not to be missed is Brittain's discussion of who he is in the "Parties" section, in which he claims that "he has committed himself to reinventing and rehabilitating his life and image" and that Twitter was a necessary component to this. He leaves out the many people who he attacked (disclaimer: including me) with his account(s) over the years. Similarly, he tries to paint himself as "lifelong champion of free and even dangerous speech as a natural right" while (yet again) ignoring his repeated attempts to abuse the law to try to silence reports of his own history running a revenge porn site, setting up a fake lawyer to demand payments to get pictures off of that site, and the eventual FTC settlement concerning that whole effort. But really, it's the next part that's the most laugh inducing:

His accumulated total followers (over 400,000) have made him the most popular anarchist/libertarian thinker in world history, where anarchism is defined as 'self-government by peaceful and voluntary interaction and exchange', governed by the Non-Aggression Principle, defined as 'to not harm anyone or their property'.

Got that? He is the most popular anarchist/libertarian thinker in world history. Because he had 400,000 followers (and that's leaving aside news reports that claimed that almost half of Brittain's followers were fake). And make sure you don't miss out on the fact that Brittain is important because some wrestlers followed him on Twitter. That's in there too. It goes on like this for a while. There's also an impressively long section in which Brittain namechecks a bunch of other accounts that Twitter suspended for no clear reason, followed by even more examples where a bunch of people freak out and claim that they've been shadowbanned (even though it's unclear if they actually were). Incredibly, there are then 17 pages (which Brittain lists as a single paragraph in his filing) that repost an EFF brief in the Knight Center case that doesn't actually say what Brittain then pretends it says. This is not an appendix or an exhibit. It's just stuck there right in the middle of Brittain's complaint. This is followed by a lengthy treatise on the fact that President Obama used Twitter, which has no bearing on... well... anything.

At this point, you're on page 60 of the filing and you finally (finally!) get to the first actual cause of action which is, incredibly, "Violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution." Which, as we've already discussed (and other courts have already found) is nonsense. Twitter is not bound by the First Amendment. That only restricts government entities. There are a bunch of other claims as well, some more nutty than others -- but all of them pretty nutty. The antitrust claim is a personal favorite. The "proof" of monopoly power in that one? The claim that Twitter controls 25% of the US social networking market. Which, uh, is not the definition of a monopoly, but Brittain's suit claims: "Therefore, it can logically be concluded that Defendant is in possession of monopoly power." This statement is not explained any further.

Also: Brittain claims that Twitter is violating CDA 230. CDA 230, of course, being the intermediary liability protection statute that literally explains why this case is nonsense and will get tossed out. It's the part of the law that says Twitter can moderate its platform however it likes. But Brittain tries to twist that.. by claiming that because Twitter itself uses Twitter, it is now an information content provider, rather than a service provider, and therefore liable for third party content:

Defendant's protections under 47 U.S. Code §230 stem from its classification as an interactive computer service. However, the presence of @Policy and unequal treatment for its users, as well as the promotion of content it agrees with ("Moments" "Front Page") and the "downranking" of content it disagrees with (to include suspensions and shadowbanning) indicate(s) that Twitter is actually an information content provider. Thereby, Twitter should be declared liable for content which appears on its platform, until at which point it ceases to act as an information content provider, and acts solely as an interactive computer service.

Nice theory. Too bad it's been rejected by basically every court since 230 became law. Courts have (rightly) found that internet services can be both an interactive computer service and an information content provider -- such that they are liable solely for the content they produce, but not for the content third parties produce on their platform. But, Brittain apparently is unaware of the reams of caselaw on this... which I guess is not that surprising.

We'd be remiss if we didn't also mention Brittain's proposed remedies. It starts off asking for a whole long list of nonsensical injunctions and declarations, then lawsuit costs and attorney's fees (he's filed this without attorneys, of course) and then "such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper," which is normally where these kinds of things would end. But then he seems to remember that he wants money, so after all that he adds in a demand for $1 billion dollars. Well, at least I think that's what he's demanding. He calls it an injunction, which is not what you call a monetary award, and then has some sort of weird formula in which an injunction is summary judgment and it has to do with Twitter's valuation, because [reasons].

For an injunction in the form of an additional summary judgment for the Plaintiff, against the Defendant, in accordance with Defendant's valuation of over $25 Billion US Dollars, of no less than $1,000,000,000.00 US Dollars.

An injunction in the form of summary judgment in accordance with a valuation for a billion dollars? This is a word salad of legal nonsense.

Anyway, if the past is any indication, we eagerly await this "lifelong champion of free and even dangerous speech as a natural right" to now seek to have this article deleted from Google. But, we also eagerly await the "LOLwut?" response from the poor judge assigned this case.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 11:16am

    I keep finding it hard to take him seriously.
    It's been that way since I got his nudes off the interwebs.
    (And much like his victims pics, they are still out there online... of course his victims weren't looking to get paid to perform on camera for anyone with a couple bucks male or female.)

    Much like this case... it doesn't measure up.
    There is no hard substance to it & it just flops like a dead fish on the docket.

    To quote Tank Girl...
    HI!!!
    Feeling a little inadequate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    norahc (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 11:59am

    Thank goodness he's back. My popcorn shares haven't been doing well lately

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 12:58pm

    That poor judge...

    Whatever the judge in his case is being paid, it is clearly not enough if he/she has to deal with this migraine inducing idiocy at face value.

    His accumulated total followers (over 400,000) have made him the most popular anarchist/libertarian thinker in world history, where anarchism is defined as 'self-government by peaceful and voluntary interaction and exchange', governed by the Non-Aggression Principle, defined as 'to not harm anyone or their property'.

    I also absolutely adore this section, given who it's coming from. It's like a person with a history of running down animals in their car for laughs went around claiming to be a champion of animal rights and pacifism.

    As much as I pity the judge that has to deal with this buffoon, at least they will have the relief that comes from laughing him and his laughably bad 'legal' claims out of court(politely of course)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 8 Jun 2018 @ 1:01pm

    Got puns

    With the line "The ruling also implicates that Twitter itself is a public forum space under the US Constitution, and thus all First Amendment Protections (must) apple to its use." Some one must get to the core of this issue and say this guy has a thin skin and a peel this ruling. some one out there is better at puns than I am take up the challenge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 3:37pm

    Not even ol blue balls will show up to defend this mess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 6:16pm

      Re:

      It's a lawsuit against Twitter; he won't be able to resist for long. Just wait and he'll have a rant about how Techdirt should be forced to host his content by law at the ready.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 6:48pm

    I've occasionally been accused of being long-winded

    But even I took three breaths to say that sentence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 4:21pm

    Dude has a point. Remember when exe's nudes were free speech? What will happen to amateur porn now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    troll, 12 Oct 2018 @ 4:19pm

    Must "apple" all "FAPs". Craig is a genius here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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