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