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Everyday Ethics

So much for my hopes the ‘unmasking’ of the anonymous blogger in the Liskula
Cohen defamation lawsuit would remain between the two parties
 and
their lawyers.  

The blogger’s name
was revealed today as Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old
acquaintance of Ms. Cohen’s and a familiar face on the NYC nightclub scene. The
issue that started the internet ruckus? According to the New York Post
(one’s source of choice for all things titillating and tawdry, of course), a
row over nasty comments allegedly whispered in Ms. Port’s boyfriend’s ear about
Ms. Port by Ms. Cohen. 

Sigh. Apparently,
some of us never make it past the 11th grade.

However, if we want
to wash the taste of ethical ickiness off our tongues, there’s this from the Post’s
article to chew on:

Early yesterday, Cohen slapped her frenemy with a
$3 million lawsuit for “defamation in the form of libel and intentional
emotional distress,” for calling her such names as “ho,”
“hag” and “skank.”

But Cohen last night told her lawyer, Steven
Wagner, to drop the action.

“This is about forgiveness,” Cohen said.
“It adds nothing to my life to hurt hers. I wish her happiness.”

But wait, don’t get your hopes
for humanity’s inherent decency back up yet. In response, the article says:

Port countered yesterday by hiring hotshot
Manhattan lawyer Sal Strazzullo, who said his client doesn’t regret the blog —
“she regrets the court’s decision” that her identity should be
revealed.

“I’m shocked that my right to privacy has been
tampered with,” Port said in a statement.

By this point, I can’t say
I’m shocked by either party. But I do
think we’ve taken up a lot of grownup people’s time and money on what turns out
to be a very childish squabble. As for freedom of speech and right to privacy
issues, I do think the court has taken a very dramatic step and forged a
troubling precedent. As I said in my prior post, it’s important for those who are cyberbullied to have some recourse, and for those whose careers are damaged by libelous speech to have the right to face their attackers in court, but I’m not sure this unmasking of bloggers is the optimal solution. 

What do you think?


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