Devin Nunes Demands Satirical Internet Cow Stop Making Fun Of Him... Or Else

from the mooooooooooooooooooooo dept

Rep. Devin Nunes remains super angry about a satirical internet cow. Earlier this year, we wrote about his lawsuit against the satirical cow on Twitter (and against Twitter itself) as well as a bunch of other lawsuits Nunes has been filing against critics in the intervening months. The cases appear to be fairly obvious SLAPP lawsuits; that is lawsuits that are designed solely to silence critics, rather than based on any legitimate legal basis. As we've noted, the venues in which Nunes has focused his lawsuits (mostly Virginia, and now Iowa) have either weak or non-existent anti-SLAPP laws. Tragically, the original case, against two satirical Twitter accounts, including one called "Devin Nunes' Cow" (a satirical reference to Nunes' oft-repeated claim of being a California dairy farmer, even as his family farm has uprooted itself to Iowa) was not thrown out by the judge on jurisdictional grounds, allowing the case to move forward.

According to the Fresno Bee, however, even as that lawsuit is ongoing, Nunes' lawyer in the case has sent a threatening demand letter to Andrew Janz, a lawyer and state prosecutor who ran against Nunes in the last election and lost (much more narrowly than many people seemed to expect). The full letter is truly a piece of work, demanding Janz make the @DevinCow account stop making fun of Devin Nunes and issue an apology.

I only wish I was joking. The letter is amazing in so many ways, starting from the opening lines:

I represent Devin G. Nunes.

I write again โ€“ this time to address a matter of grave import and enormous consequence.

A matter of grave import and enormous consequence?!? Do tell! Oh, it's the fact that a thin-skinned public official can't take pretty modest mockery:

As you well know, for over two years, Mr. Nunes has been maliciously harassed, stalked, bullied online, threatened and egregiously defamed on Twitter by the user or users who post day and night, through the anonymous Twitter account, @DevinCow. [https://twitter.com/DevinCow].

I mean, how could anyone think this letter was a good idea?

The letter then notes that a PAC connected to Janz appeared to be helping to raise legal defense funds for whoever is behind the @DevinCow account. If true, that wouldn't violate any laws, but Nunes and his lawyer imply that something terrible is happening here.

Based upon the evidence I have reviewed, it appears that you or an agent or agents acting at your direction is coordinating, instigating, aiding and abetting the user or users of the @DevinCow Twitter account in the malicious harassment, cyberbullying, stalking and defamation of Mr. Nunes.

Malicious harassment, cyberbullying, stalking and defamation? Get over yourself Nunes. What happened to supporting free speech and the 1st Amendment? A satirical cow mocking you is none of the above. It is not harassment. It is not cyberbullying. It is not stalking. And it is most definitely not defamation. It's satire. It's the mocking of public officials, which is something we've celebrated in this country basically since the very beginning. It's also all entirely protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. You know? The document that Devin Nunes has sworn to protect?

Now come the demands to Janz. Because he's apparently helping to organize the legal funding to protect whoever is behind the @DevinCow account from this obvious SLAPP suit, Nunes' lawyer is now making patently ridiculous demands:

Demand is hereby made upon you as follows:

1. Immediately cause the user or users of @DevinCow to cease and desist from publishing any further false or defamatory statements of and concerning Mr. Nunes;

2. Immediately cause the @DevinCow Twitter account to retract all harassing, disparaging, false and defamatory tweets and retweets of and concerning Mr. Nunes, and apologize for the harm done to Mr. Nunes and his family;

3. Within one (1) business day of retraction and public apology, cause the termination of the @DevinCow Twitter account.

It also notes to Janz that he should reveal who is behind the account:

As a Deputy District Attorney, it would be egregious and irresponsible for you to continue to keep secret from the public the identity of @DevinCow.

You are legally, ethically and morally responsible to act now.

This is all, of course, utter nonsense. And this is all strategically bizarre. Who could possibly think that getting this freaked out by a satirical account could ever possibly lead to anything good? It appears to show Devin Nunes is scared of fairly mild criticism and mockery. And the idea that such a ridiculous letter would have any good results, other than leading to even more mockery of Nunes for his thin-skinned freak out, and raising serious questions about Nunes' own fitness for office. If you can't take a bit of criticism from satirical constituents, maybe you don't belong in public office.

Also, even if this is all performative, all it's really served to do is get a lot more people paying attention to the satirical cow. Before the lawsuit, the account had about 1,200 followers. It now has over 630k -- which is pretty close to Nunes himself (there was a point in which the cow surpassed Nunes himself, but both have increased their follower counts quite a bit since then. Either way, encouraging over 600,000 users to follow an account designed solely to make fun of you, and then continuing to throw a legal temper tantrum over the account is not a good look for a sitting Congress member.

In the meantime, it certainly doesn't look like the DevinCow account has any interest in backing down or apologizing:

In the meantime, Nunes continues to be wrong about Twitter as well. In a recent interview he spouted a bunch of nonsense about the case:

He claims he had no choice but to sue. That's wrong. He could have not sued, for instance. He could have ignored the mockery. Or he could have responded to it. He could have shown why they were wrong if they were. There are many options short of suing -- especially for a Congressman who once introduced a bill to stop frivolous lawsuits. He says he's "been slandered and defamed" which is also just wrong. Slander is spoken defamation. If there was defamation (and there wasn't) it would be libel, not slander. But even more to the point, he's arguing that Twitter is negligent and that's why he's suing Twitter as well. Why negligent? Because something something bots. No, really.

"Twitter's case, it's even worse because they're negligent to the fact. I mean, they're allowing these bot farms, both large and small bot farms, and they allowed it to go on, knowing that the people behind it are operatives."

First off, even if that's true, so what? How is that "negligence"? How is that against the law? The interviewer even seems a bit surprised by this and asks if there "evidence to that effect" and Nunes doesn't actually say that there's evidence, but seems to suggest that Twitter protecting the anonymity (a 1st Amendment right, by the way) of its users is proof of negligence.

"We know they're operatives. Twitter knows they're operatives. And they refuse to give us the people behind it.... And they've had six months to come clean and shut all this down and tell us who are these political actors that they're hiding from the public? And from their investors? I think people will want to know why did you knowingly hide what, one we believe is a smaller political operation and one we believe is a much larger political operation. And Twitter knows the names of them and they oughta come clean and give them to us. And that's why we're in court. And so, they're proving our case for us. [Chuckles] I mean, this is like the definition of negligence, what Twitter and their high priced lawyers have been doing over the last six months."

Spoiler alert: what Twitter and their high-priced lawyers have been doing over the last six months is certainly not negligence. Protecting the 1st Amendment protected anonymity of your users, who include some satirical accounts mocking a thin-skinned Congressman, seems like good practice in protecting free speech and the all-American tradition of being able to speak up and criticize our elected officials.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, andrew janz, devin nunes, devin's cow, free speech, satire


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:11pm

    Nothing pisses off the โ€œha ha, look at the fragile snowflakes, do you need a safe space for your fee-feesโ€ crowd like being mildly insulted in a way other people can see. Exhibit A: Nunes, Devin.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 7 Nov 2019 @ 2:42am

      Re:

      Nothing pisses off the โ€œha ha, look at the fragile snowflakes, do you need a safe space for your fee-feesโ€ crowd like being mildly insulted in a way other people can see. Exhibit A: Nunes, Devin.

      Exhibit B: Stephens, Bret

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

  • identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:15pm

    The internet: A place where snowflakes melt and people don't have lives.

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:19pm

    I read everything Devin Nunes says online in Marvin the Martian's angry voice. It makes his wild, futile flailing at a fictional cow even more amusing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:21pm

    "I've been slandered and defamedโ€ฆ so I have no other option [other than to go to court]."

    That is udderly ridiculous

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

    • identicon
      Devin Nunes' covv ๐Ÿฎ, 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      So Nunes' lawyer wants Janz to grass on whomever might be behind the accownt because of allegged cyberBULLying and STALKing?

      Bot farms! Now I know where those damned flies are coming from.

      And I'm running operatives?

      Don't make me ring that lie bell!
      ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ €
      ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ
      ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€‚ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ
      ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€‚ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ
      ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€‚ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ
      ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ โ€ƒ ๐Ÿฎ

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Devon_cattle
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Devon_cattle

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      Maybe he should just be glad he isn't Hustler's Asshole of the Month and let it go.

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

    • identicon
      bobob, 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      Not to mention a mooot point

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:21pm

    At least he's using the courts instead of just asking for a favor to get it done.... Unless he has already asked for a favor and is now going through political theater.

    I think he probably is actually using the courts legitimately though.

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:25pm

    When you make fun of conservatives they don't just meltdown, they go to pieces so fast you might get hit be the shrapnel.

    Oh damn, I fact checked El Cheetos - that must be "Proof of bias."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_and_golf

    Hardest working Golfer ever!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      Eh, the meltdowns come from both sides.
      I wonder if it's bullying to tell Nunes to eat a dick.

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

    • identicon
      recherche, 7 Nov 2019 @ 12:58am

      "they go to pieces so fast you might get hit be the shrapnel"

      I first encountered this line in Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy:

      Zaphod Beeblebrox:
      "[...] I'm dangerous when I'm cornered!"

      Ford Prefect:
      "Yeah, you go to pieces so fast, people get hit by the shrapnel!"

      --

      Can anyone dig up any more history about this line? Or should we
      give credit to the (late, sadly missed) Douglas Adams?

      -- recherche

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Nov 2019 @ 3:57am

      Re:

      "When you make fun of conservatives they don't just meltdown, they go to pieces so fast you might get hit be the shrapnel."

      Well, for todays republican they either embrace and own the fact that what their party as a whole is doing keeps getting beyond the point where even Mark Hamill couldn't make a proper Joker voice describing it...

      ...or they wholeheartedly embrace denial and opt for the route where the world as a whole is wrong, not them.

      In that place cognitive dissonance must feel like a kick in the nuts. No wonder they explode.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:30pm

    The only response to the letter should be OK Boomer

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

    • icon
      Norahc (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      The only response to the letter should be OK Boomer

      "Moooo off!" seems more appropriate.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 7 Nov 2019 @ 12:35am

      Re:

      Sadly, he's not a boomer, although he seems to be acting like the kind of person that phrase is meant to address.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2019 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Meh, Iโ€™d say give him the apology he deserves.

      I apologize that I called Devin Nunes a thin skinned asshole. That was an insult to people with thin skin, as Mr. Nunes obviously doesnโ€™t have little tolerance for being made fun of, he has no tolerance for being made fun of.

      I started this account to humorously point out the incongruity of Mr. Nunes claiming to be a California dairy farmer, when his family runs a farm in Iowa. This has gone further than I intended and also pointed out that Mr. Nunes lacks a sense of humor, respect for the Constitution he has sworn to uphold, any self-respect, and the ability to stop digging when he finds himself ina hole. If Mr. Nunes would like to keep these and any other inconvenient truths hidden, I humbly suggest he retire from public life and live in a house with no mirrors.

      I will honor Mr. Nunesโ€™ request to stop tweeting as @DevinCow, you can follow me at my new accounts @DevinNunesIsAnAsshole, and @DevinSuedCow.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:41pm

    ๐Ÿ„

    Moo?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:03pm

      Re: ๐Ÿ„

      ๐Ÿ„
      ๐Ÿฆƒ
      ๐Ÿ€
      โ›„๏ธ
      ๐Ÿฆ„๐Ÿท๐Ÿ—๐Ÿฆ‚๐ŸฆŸ

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2019 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re: ๐Ÿ„

        Crypto: I donโ€™t care how many stomachs you have I donโ€™t have time for this.
        -crypto on nunes cow

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

        • identicon
          Devin Nunes' covv ๐Ÿฎ, 7 Nov 2019 @ 1:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: ๐Ÿ„ I donโ€™t care how many stomachs you have

          Hmmmm. I'll have to ruminate on that for a while. It cud take me some time.

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

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:48pm

    Where Can I Buy A Devin Moonez T-Shirt?

    Dear Internet,

    I need a DevinCow T-Shirt ASAP.

    Sincerely,
    Never Nunes Fan Club

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 12:48pm

    Devin Moooones is the new Gollum Erdogan.

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

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:02pm

    stalking?

    Being stalked by a cow is not possible...unless you removed its cowbell first. Has Nunes offered any evidence that said cow is, in actuality, "de-belled"? NO! Case closed.

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

  • icon
    PNRCinema (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:03pm

    Ooh I'm Dyin.

    "This is all, of course, utter nonsense"

    Mike, Mike, Mike....you totally BLEW the perfect pun opportunity, i'm disappointed....it's not "utter nonsense" it's "UDDER nonsense"...bwaahahahha

    But seriously, it is, you'd think this guy would have given up by this point, he really should Moooove on...he's Milked it for all it's worth...he really should have hooved on out of here....I mean it's all just a load of bullshit anyway....::rimshot::

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:08pm

    Devin wants to claim that this account is a-bomb-in-a-bull, but if such a thing were to occur (and detonate) it would be no-bull.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:19pm

    Poor melting snowflake Nunes! To be viciously and irreparably harmed by this domesticated ungulate!

    We need a feinting couch for Nunes, stat!!

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

  • icon
    JdL (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:47pm

    Where can I go to mock Nunes?

    I don't have a Twitter account.

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

  • icon
    MO'B (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:47pm

    Damn it Moooones

    Now I have to get a Twitter account so I can see all of the "mean things" they are saying about you!
    I mean it really wasn't worth my time before, but since you are whining soooo much, it must be some good stuff!
    Maybe you can get the DOJ to investigate for you. I'm sure Don "the Con" can have a word with Billy Bar for you....
    I meant that as satire, but now I'm afraid I've giving Moooones ideas.....

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:49pm

    Devin Nunes is really milking the Devin Nunes' Cow story.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:50pm

    'I'm a politician, how dare you mock me?!'

    Given the maturity level on display in the rest of the letter, I can only imagine how insanely hard it was to not end the letter with '... and if you don't do all this I'm gonna tell my mom, who'll tell your mom, and you'll really be in trouble!'

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

  • identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 6 Nov 2019 @ 1:51pm

    Talk about mad cow disease...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:20pm

    This cow needs to be shut down immediately.

    The only one that should be sucking on anything is Devin Nunes, sucking feverishly at the tit of corporate lobbyists and russian scam artists that pay his salary/campaign funds.

    Mooooooo!

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

  • icon
    Tim R (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:29pm

    For some reason, I think of the Danny Ocean quote in "Ocean's Thirteen":

    "First of all, I know the guys you'd hire to come get me, they like me better than you."

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 6 Nov 2019 @ 2:35pm

    It might be worth violating my princple of not using social media to start a Twitter account: @DevinNunes'Cow'sTeets

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

  • identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:14pm

    Isn't this slander against the local dairy farmers association?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:29pm

    No thatโ€™s ok Iโ€™ll see myself out.

    Bros. I think we have finally found OutIfTheMoos true identify.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 3:43pm

    Someone should add this (and a link to this article) to the "Lawsuits" section of his Wikipedia page, just so people know that the apparently doesn't believe in freedom of speech and the freedom to satirize public officials.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:07pm

    Psst -
    It's not because of @DevinCow that you're known for bullshit, Mr. Nunes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 4:57pm

    out of the blue's hero, ladies and gentlemen.

    Personally I'm more amused that blue spent over a year to get his Devin Nunes memo pet thread barely over 500, and all it took was a nurgle cultist to bump a thread to over 600 posts in a week...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2019 @ 8:49pm

    I have never been interested in either revisiting Fresno, or dressing like a cow. But suddenly I have an intense urge to do both. Flash mob anyone?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2019 @ 7:49am

    [Twitter's] allowing these bot farms, both large and small bot farms

    Bold of him to bring out the F-word.

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

  • identicon
    Avideogameplayer, 7 Nov 2019 @ 9:16am

    Some people shouldn't have a cow over this type of moooooronic stuff.

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


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