Thursday, October 18, 2012

on Outing Violentacrez, Pseudonymity, Free Speech, and the Right to Work

tl;dr: Gawker's Adrian Chen knew that if he outed Violentacrez, the moderator of sexually creepy but legal forums on Reddit, Violentacrez would lose his job, his disabled wife would lose her health insurance, and they would be in danger of losing their home. Violentacrez offered to close his forums and cancel his Reddit account if Chen would not out him. Though Chen could have written about him while preserving his anonymity, Chen chose to out Violentacrez. The only practical result of this was to make a family lose their income and health care and put them in danger of losing their home. On Reddit, new forums immediately sprang up to replace the old ones—and Chen's hypocrisy should be obvious, because Gawker still hosts upskirt pics too.


*

Whenever I discuss free speech with fans of censorship, I have to note that no one ever needs to defend the right to innocuous speech. The price of supporting free speech is supporting the right to speak of people you despise.

So I'll stress this: Violentacrez is as creepy as creepy legally gets—I say "legally" because, from what I've read, he broke no laws. Yet he was outed by Adrian Chen, who knew that V. lived in a "right to work state" (the euphemism for a US state where bosses may fire people at whim) and that when V. was outed, he would be fired, his mortgage would be in jeopardy, and his disabled wife would be at the mercy of the US health care industry.

There are people like John Scalzi who take the simplistic approach that this is not a free speech issue. If you think free speech is only a legal issue, they're quite right. Violentacrez got to say what he wanted, and Chen got to say what he wanted, and V.'s boss got to say what he wanted as he fired him. Legally, it was free speech all around. No one's going to go to jail for anything they said.

But the story raises three important questions:

1. Is free speech an ethical as well as a legal issue?

2. Is pseudonymity a free speech issue?

3. Should bosses be able to fire people for legal activities that occur outside of their working hours?

My answers are yes, yes, and hell no.


Scalzi writes, "Reddit is not a public utility or a public square; it’s a privately owned space on the Internet." That's true, but irrelevant. When the ACLU weighed in on Clark University canceling a speech by Norman Finkelstein, it didn't matter that Clark University is a private school. They acknowledged that Clark had the legal right to do what it did, but they pointed out Clark's ethical shortcoming by citing the example of other private schools.

The president of Tufts, explaining his intention to respect free speech as though Tufts had to abide by the requirements of public schools, wrote:
We must be vigilant in defending individual liberties even if it means that from time to time we must tolerate speech that violates our standards of civility and respect.
And this is from the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences' free speech guidelines:
Because we are a community united by a commitment to rational processes, we do not permit censorship of noxious ideas. We are committed to maintaining a climate in which reason and speech provide the correct response to a disagreeable idea.
The right to photograph freely what happens in public has to include the right to put those photographs in creepy contexts. If it does not, we're left with a meaningless freedom, the right to record and share public things that no one objects to.


In an ideal world, pseudonyms would never be necessary because everyone would be cared for, regardless of what they thought and said. But we live in a world where the safest way to keep a job is to keep silent about anything that may trouble anyone. Our current freedom to speak freely includes the freedom to die homeless. To speak without fear of reprisal, pseudonymity is often necessary.

But what does it mean to be pseudonymous? Whenever the question arises, people ask whether the person made a reasonable effort to be pseudonymous. The fact that Adrian Chen couldn't find Violentacrez's identity by googling says V. made a reasonable effort.

I believe in respecting the wishes of all pseudonymous, law-abiding people who don't mix their legal and pseudonymous identities online. If you can't find someone's identity in thirty seconds of Googling, they probably want to be pseudonymous. Legally, you may out them anyway. Ethically, you may not.

But the Violentacrez case has revealed many people's take on pseudonymity on the internet: It's okay to out people who post things you don't like.


Censorship is the power to keep people from speaking. That power is held by governments, churches, schools, and anyone who has authority to silence anyone. When fear of losing your job keeps you silent during the time when you are supposed to be free, you are being censored by your employer.

If Adrian Chen is ever fired for anything he said or did away from Gawker, he will have no grounds to complain.


None of what I've said here is a defense of what Violentacrez did—creepiness is creepy.

But outing V. has not limited the ability of people who haven't broken laws to be legally creepy. Subreddits have sprung up to replace those that V. closed. Outing him has only added another family to the unemployment rolls. If Chen thought what V. did was wrong, Chen could've called for changing the law. Instead, he got Google juice for Gawker by making a family suffer for committing no crime.

There is a very simple solution to dealing with legal sites that offend you: don't go there.

A song more people should ponder:





ETA: On G+, a question came up about recording the police. I said: "In order to record police power, we have to be able to record freely--which includes some creepy stuff." To be clear, that's "record freely whatever happens in public places".

ETA 2: From Why Gawker Should Lose Its War With Reddit: "You could try to argue that outing Brutsch was the only way to stop him. But when Chen first started poking around, Violentacrez allegedly offered to delete his account and quit Reddit for good, if Gawker refrained from publishing. According to Brutsch, Chen refused."

ETA 3: For anyone who thinks outing V. was effective: CreepShots Is Back and Impersonating Lesbians.

ETA 4: I'm very fond of this comment that Deb Franklin made in a discussion on Google+:
"But we live in a world where the safest way to keep a job is to keep silent about anything that may trouble anyone."
This is really what disturbs me about this whole situation. Yeah, I think the guy is a skeeze. I think people who put pictures up on Peopleofwalmart are skeeze. Why is one skeeze okay and another bad? I find them both repulsive and humilating to the individuals used to fill some jolly in people. 
However do I think someone should be fired over something that isn't illegal? Uh no. Because the slippery slope is there. I don't want to have to spout a party line 24/7 to be considered employable. Shades of Big Brother and the Thought Police! 
Meanwhile the internet mob mentality grows and grows. Humans, we are a vengeful lot, aren't we?
ETA 5: In the comments below, Amolitor made a comment about creepy neighbors on the internet which inspired me to write this:
You notice your neighbor in his upstairs window, photographing your teenaged daughter, who is washing the car in your front driveway. Knowing he has a mortgage to pay and his disabled wife depends on the health insurance he gets at work, is the proper response to get him fired?

28 comments:

  1. You've made me think about this, which is always good.

    I think you're right that it is hard to separate the free speech issue from the anonymity issue.

    When I hear about a free speech issue, my first question is always, "What are the class issues involved?" Let's take a few examples:

    1. A union newsletter is shut down by the FBI for asking for a general strike. Well, this one's so easy that I have nothing to say to anyone who would support the FBI.

    2. A literary erotica site is shut down by the FBI because it contains stories of illegal actions (child porn, rape, &c). Here, I stand by the site that was shut down; no actual individuals were harmed, and the FBI shutting it down provides a precedent that can easily be used against the working class for "dangerous" or "subversive" proposals.

    3. A Leftist is banned from a public site for opinions that offend the site owner. Though not legally a first amendment issue, I'm inclined to defend the guy who was banned, even while tempted to ask him why he was wasting his time on site where he wasn't doing any good.

    4. Same as above, only it wasn't his opinions, it was for disrupting the conversation (ie, the way he expressed himself). In this case, it's a much tougher call. The people on the site ought to have a right to talk without disruption, so long as they are not actually planning reactionary activities (if they are, of course, one stops them if one can). If it isn't something I want to talk about, I can walk away. On the other hand, it can be excessively authoritarian. Legally, and by custom, there's no question: it's his site, he can ban whom he pleases for any or no reason. Ethically, I'd have to look at each case to know whether I'd support the action.

    5. Same as 3, only it's a right-winger. Well, really, I don't give a fuck if someone who wants to drive the working class back to a level of bare survival and starvation wages doesn't get a chance to talk. If there's a legal issue, I'll be forced to defend his rights for fear the same justification would be used against me; but if someone comes on my blog and wants to support the murder of working class youth by police, I have no trouble booting his ass. (In fact, I didn't, but if he doesn't shut up, I will eventually). When does the abstraction of "free discussion" become less important than other issues? That depends on the class issues involved; I don't believe this is a "one size fits all" situation.

    6. Someone doing a disgusting and revolting but legal thing (e.g. sexualized photos of underage girls) shut down by an operator of the site. Here, there is no class issue. We don't have a whiff of government activity, there is no direct or indirect working class stake in this (except the increased safety to working class girls of having the site gone), and the only justification for letting it continue requires the most abstract and empty reasoning: "Anyone should be able to say anything any time without any consequences." I don't hold with that belief, and I don't think you ought to either.

    Obviously, this is closest to the latter, except the site didn't shut him down because it was making too much money off him, so someone else did by outing him. Breaking someone's anonymity is, in the abstract, a bad thing to do. Letting this asshole get away with his activities would also be a bad thing to do. I think the latter is less bad than the former. But, again, I don't think one can find a general law that applies.

    This comment was made up as I went along; I may change my mind about some of it. But, again, thanks for giving me a different perspective, and making me think about it.

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    1. I find our differences fascinating.

      But you mischaracterize my position here: I don't think "Anyone should be able to say anything any time without any consequences."

      I think "Anyone should be able to say anything legal when they're not at work without getting fired."

      Do you really want to support the power of capitalists to dictate what pictures workers may look at? (Written with a grin.)

      So Gawker could get Google juice, a disabled woman is without health care. I just added a third ETA to show that Chen accomplished nothing else here.

      This is the essential point: While I agree that what's legal is not necessarily ethical and what's ethical is not necessarily legal, I do not think that getting an individual fired because you don't like what they like to look at is any kind of solution. The internet, as I've noted elsewhere, is a hydra. The replacement creepy subreddits were up almost as soon as V. deleted his. If this is a problem that needs to be solved by punishing people, the law needs to change.

      And, as I may've said above, I can't think of a way to change the law that wouldn't make things worse. Do we ban cameras or require licenses to use them? Should everyone who wants to post a picture of anyone who might be under 21 submit the pic to a censor? What practical solution is there? Outing the occasional creep only adds to the unemployment rolls, which I wouldn't expect any socialist to support.

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  2. I don't think the solution, whatever it is, will be found or created within the legal system.

    Yeah, I didn't address the work issue, because it's complicated and I'm still trying to figure it out. In general, anything that makes it harder for an employer to fire someone is a good thing. In specific, I don't give a shit about this guy.

    As someone just pointed out on Scalzi's blog, it's ironic that he was working for Payday Loan, and they fired him for being sleazy.

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  3. Arrgh. That was me. This is me glaring at your blogging software.

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    1. Blogger's commenting system totally sucks.

      There are a lot of people I don't give a shit about. I still support their right to be people I don't give a shit about. Niemoller applies:

      First they came for the people I didn't give a shit about, and I did fuck all, because they were creepy.
      Then they came for the people I could care less about, and I said who cares, because they were kind of weird.
      Then they came for the people who made me say meh, and I said meh, because were meh.
      Then they came for me, and there was no one left to give a shit.

      You do know that the Martin-Niemöller-Foundation claims the original sequence was communists, socialists, and trade unionists? It's dangerous to tolerate a bad principle simply because it's applied to people you don't give a shit about.

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  4. Right. But if first it had been communists, socialists, and trade unionists coming for the Nazis, I'd have helped them. And the Communists, socialists, and trade unionists could have and should have "come for" the Nazis. The whole trouble is, they waited for the Nazis to act.

    Creepy guys are not the same as Nazis, and sometimes need to be defended, so the State can't use the means of suppressing creepy guys to suppress actual dissent (indeed, this is one reason I opposed the anti-democratic attack on Roman Polanski). But, in my opinion, this isn't one of those cases.

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    1. Ah, Polanski's the difference I was thinking of. So far as I'm concerned, he's a scumbag who had sex with a child who was, by definition, incapable of meaningful consent. Legally and ethically, Polanski was a predator who was guilty of statutory rape. Whereas, from what I've read, Violentacrez posted pictures of people taken in public places and placed them in a sleazy context. Ethically, he was a scumbag, but legally, he was in the clear. So, should scumbags who have not broken the law be outed, fired, and cast upon whatever Texas has for the dole? If so, who else should employers be able to fire for doing legal things in their free time that they don't approve of?

      Well, I doubt we'll go anywhere interesting with the free speech argument now, but out of curiosity, do you really think Polanski was targeted for his politics? What did he ever do that was a threat to the status quo?

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    2. First, I think to some extent he was; his films are very critical of society. There's also an element of antisemitism involved. Second, more to the point, I think the idea was to find someone they could use to get the pseudo-left to abandon democratic principles, so in case an Assange came along, they could just use the word "rape" and the pseudo-left would roll over. And, guess what, it worked.

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    3. Hmm. Am I the only one who thinks the cases are entirely different? My belief that Polanski deserved to be charged has nothing to do with my belief that Assange deserves to go free.

      The pseudo-left got lost in identitarian politics decades ago. No one needed to set up Polanski.

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  5. Will -- I'm calling "Godwin's Law" by your invoking of the Niemoller quote.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law#Corollaries_and_usage

    Comparing creepy guy to victims of Nazi oppression is a bit of an overreach IMHO.

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    1. Yes, I've known about Godwin's Law for ages, and I think it's true as an observation--people do cite Nazis because they're a useful example of extreme logic--but nonsense as a principle for discourse. If we can't cite them, we can't learn from their example.

      I was agonizing over how to finish this comment when I got a comment from Deb Franklin on G+ that I think sums it up very, very well. It begins after the asterisks with her quoting me.

      ***

      "But we live in a world where the safest way to keep a job is to keep silent about anything that may trouble anyone."

      This is really what disturbs me about this whole situation. Yeah, I think the guy is a skeeze. I think people who put pictures up on Peopleofwalmart are skeeze. Why is one skeeze okay and another bad? I find them both repulsive and humilating to the individuals used to fill some jolly in people.

      However do I think someone should be fired over something that isn't illegal? Uh no. Because the slippery slope is there. I don't want to have to spout a party line 24/7 to be considered employable. Shades of Big Brother and the Thought Police!

      Meanwhile the internet mob mentality grows and grows. Humans, we are a vengeful lot, aren't we?

      Delete
  6. Most of this sort of thing USED to be handled by social pressures. People "did the right thing" because their friends and neighbors would look funny at them. Of course, there have always been a few sociopaths who would go ahead and do the wrong thing anyways.

    One of the biggest social changes the internet has wrought is that, essentially, all those sociopaths are part of everyone's local community. Now every one of us lives next door to not 1 but 1000s of sociopaths who, to some degree or another, will not respond to the cold look, and the distant "Good. Morning." by straightening up their act.

    This is going to be an ongoing problem, and I have no idea what to do about it.

    Also, gawker is completely awful.

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    1. Your last line made me grin. And made me realize Gawker's writers are among the sociopaths. Hmm. I may have an analogy now:

      You notice your neighbor in his upstairs window, photographing your teenaged daughter, who is washing the car in your front driveway. Knowing he has a mortgage to pay and his disabled wife depends on the health insurance he gets at work, is the proper response to get him fired?

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    2. Casting things in the local/personal/physical light certainly makes me *feel* like things are clear, eh? My response is: of course not. You go make rude gestures at him and say "knock it off, dude".

      What's really interesting is that if you DO go get him fired, I think the neighbor has a case for harassment, or similar. Then counter-suits are filed and a bunch of lawyers make a bunch of money, which is arguably no solution at all. But at least there is in play the negative motivation of enriching lawyers.

      Online, unless you're a teenager and you've just killed yourself, there don't seem to be any such protections. Lawyers are less likely to even try it on due to jurisdictional issues, for starters, ditto law enforcement.

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    3. "Now every one of us lives next door to not 1 but 1000s of sociopaths who, to some degree or another, will not respond to the cold look, and the distant "Good. Morning." by straightening up their act. This is going to be an ongoing problem, and I have no idea what to do about it."--amolitor

      We may not be able to shame the sociopath (I don't think we ever could, which is why they are called sociopaths), but we can take over the dialog and attempt to sway the readers and encourage those who were attacked in the original post/comment. I just read an article at Thought Catalog about the homophobic hashtag #SignsYoSonIsGay, where people would tweet horrible and hateful things about gays. The hashtag was taken over by (in the words of the author) the awesome people of the internet, who began tweeting things like "He’s in a happy relationship w/ his partner of 10 years, hoping the state will let him marry soon. Thinking about adopting" and "He runs a gay reprogramming camp." The article ends, "I remembered how awesome people are when they come together to protect each other. Sometimes strangers come to one place and stand up for each other because it is the right thing to do. That is why I love the Internet."

      http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/signsyosonisgay-or-why-i-love-the-internet/

      Obviously, this won't work in all situations, as on a forum where the moderator can ban you to keep things "safe" for the original attackers; but rebuttals and protests can still be posted on other forums, blogs, etc. so that attention can be called to the original problem. This is how I thought free speech was to function; yes, say what you want, but realize that others can and will come back at you with not a sword, but a pen (keyboard?).




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    4. I also saw the taking over of #SignsYoSonIsGay and loved it. It contrasts beautifully with the handling of Violentacrez: it was a positive response that answered hate with love; outing V. was a negative response calculated to cause as much harm as possible.

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  7. I remember (probably I'm wrong) you putting more emphasis in this post on the consequences of the outing of Violentacrez and I'm glad you focused more on the free speech issue.
    because, well, let's not just look at the outcome: this would have happened even if Brutsch did something illegal. Because if caught doing illegal actions, Chen would have the obligation of reporting him to autorities. He would have gotten in jail, consequently lost his job and his disabled wife would have been out of medical support nonetheless. And sure, this is an important issue, many abuse victims face the problem of not having the possibility of reporting because turns out that their assaulter is also the only person who has an income in their family.

    What is damn wrong here to me is the possibility for someone to be left starving in the freezing cold, because, hey, you're free to starve!


    On the free speech issue i must say I don't defend the right of free speech and I tend to be on the side of John Scalzi, even if it's a semplicistic position written this way.

    I tend to think as media outlets, platforms, or blogs as someone's house. (continue)

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  8. I should be free, as an individual or an association, to decide wheter to fund, deliver or promote opinions on the basis of agreement/endorsement. I'd never lend my terrace for a tea party rally or a Lega Nord convention(xenophobic party)and I feel fully entitled to do that.
    The problem that arise in my mind are:

    -can we really consider public space of debate as someone's house? i've some doubts too even if I support the "house methaphor".

    -what if an idea is not endorsed by no mainstream actor? are internet and crowdfunding sufficent means for airing opinions and being visible too? or expression it's just a game for big fish in the pond?

    -what about speeches that promote hatred, crime or undermine the very basis of the system? such as pro-capitalistic speeches in communist systems or discriminating speeches in democracy? should them be allowed?

    -if free speech is granted, does it mean you're free to speak out and you're not held responsible for what you say? what type of speeches should entail consequences and what not? and if there are any, what type shoud they be in which cases (law enforcement, to be shunned from community, to be reprimanded in public, etc)

    so, if I follow your definition of free speech, which is binary, i fall in the cathegory of people against free speech anywhere anytime. What I feel really is this is a field full of slippery slopes (the above are just four aspects that came to my mind)so I'd say that I'm pro free speech, BUT...

    To tell the truth i think there are lots of slippery slopes everywhere when it comes to such complex topics (bioethics, freedom of speech, crime and punishment, etcetera)

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  9. ah, another point coming from a possible example:
    Norman Finkelstein is granted to speak even if his controversial views on Holocaust are not endorsed by the university.
    I support the decision: they're an University, and therefore a place where ideas are exposed and discussed. Not necessarily providing an outlet to professor Finkelstein means "Hey we agree with this guy".
    Finkelstein starts speaking but alumni start booing and interrupting him shouting objections.

    It's ok-they're expressing their views too, they are entitled too (free speech!)

    it's not ok-they're preventing someone from exercise his/her OWN right to free speech?

    I really don't know how I could answer this question.

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    1. I wrote more about the Finkelstein episode elsewhere. The problem was that they invited him, *then* pulled the invitation. They invited him knowing he had interesting opinions. But when they decided those things were too interesting, they censored him. Which is legal. But immoral.

      My definition isn't binary: there's what's legal and what's not, so there are at least four positions, with gray areas in between each:

      1. You support the right to say anything, whether it's legal or not. (Pretty much my position, so long as you're not lying and not endangering anyone.)

      2. You support the right to say what's legal. (In this case, you would not out Brutsch, because he stayed within the law, and you would let Finkelstein speak, because he had been invited to speak.)

      3. You support the right to suppress legal speech. (In this case, you attack individuals rather than try to change the law. Brutsch is one sort of example, Finkelstein is a very different one, and third-party candidates who are on the ballots in enough states to win, yet who are kept out of public debates, are yet another.)

      And for thoroughness, there are people who believe this:

      4. No one has a right to say anything. Anyone who is able to silence their opponents should be able to do so, because that's reality. (The right-libertarian position is somewhere between 3 and 4.)

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    2. Oh, as for the booing example, yes, people have a right to boo. But if you respect free speech, the better choice is to walk out and let the person speak to those who wish to listen.

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  10. the reference to binarity comes from this post on WisCon rebuttal of E. Moon. :)

    http://sjwar.blogspot.it/2010/10/a-sad-day-in-commons-on-suppression-of.html

    in describing the four stances your never mention what about consequences, which I think was one of your points in the post indeed. at least if you don't agree with John Scalzi.

    my point: even you're free to speak up your mind, you should also be held responsible for what you say.

    fictional example: an employee at an abortion clinic airs publicly on facebook that there are some unidentified women/girls who are s***s because they came three times in a row for an abortion.
    this is not illegal; she's just expressing contempt to unidentified persons.
    but we can say he/she is hostile and girls and women could avoid that clinic or feel uncomfortable. I can understand that employers could consider firing. other controversial opinions might not interest the very scope of his/her job, so who cares. it depends on the case, and sadly this means all and nothing.

    my point was also that what deciding what is legal and what is not and defining boundaries is a damn hard work, but this doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

    I insist that if Chen should have self-censored his freedom of speech, then also Violentacrez should have. Doesn't matter he didn't reveal the legal name of the girls (or at least, I don't know), still he outed them in public. The behavior of violentacrez isn't just creepy, it's plain immoral too, because the "jailbaits" are facing harsh consequences too.


    PS: sorry if'm a bit verbose, it's hard for me being coincise, especially in english.

    PPS: had a chat with a friend about your blog and turned out her boyfriend is translating your body of work in italian (he studied Islamic literature and has an huge insterest in utopian sci-fi too) sometimes I feel world is such a small place :)

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    1. No apologies necessary for verbosity either! It usually means the issue matters to you.

      And it's entirely likely that I'm inconsistent. I love Whitman's "I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes."

      I do think everyone should be responsible for what they say. And that includes being responsible for saying something that causes a woman to lose her health care, even though no crimes were being committed.

      As for the hypothetical employee, if they do good work, I would tolerate their ranting about people who get a lot of abortions. It is possible to be compassionate at work and rant in after hours. Sometimes we just need to vent in order to keep doing well by people who make bad choices. (I'm assuming this is a hypothetical example of someone who has sloppy habits about contraception. A person who's being abused could very well need three abortions in a row.)

      If Violentacrez should have self-censored, so should Gawker. Does Gawker still have upskirt photos? I haven't heard that they've taken them down.

      And I agree that what V did is immoral. So is what Chen did. Not to defend either of them, but Chen is being paid by people who host upskirt photos, which makes him both a creep-for-hire and a hypocrite.

      P.S. Serious about someone translating my stuff? I hadn't heard about that, but if I'm not being confused with someone else, that's quite flattering.

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    2. agree about the rants after worktime. especially workers in the social area (doctors, teachers, nurses, social assistants)need that I guess.

      the problem is people uses social networks in general as it was their living room. many people don't even care about being undercover.
      I myself have said so many b*hit out of frustration that if I wrote down on facebook too I'd be unemployed for my entire life. (at least in america, sure).

      fact: written media accessible for everybody globally makes silly things/divel incredibly relevant and hurtful, hence the big deal.
      Verba volant, scripta manent. it's irrelevant in this case, but here reputation is so important that exposing and commenting people that way is slander. depends on culture, hence all the stress I put on ruling and law.

      agree on Gawker being hypocrite and even worst than V because they're making profit on cleavage and upskirt pics, (I don't bother browsing, I trust you, I really don't want to visit them).
      I'm pretty much sure that Chen did this out of some sort of ill satisfaction for shaming, not surely for the sake of helping out those girls who are outed. this is so evident that I didn't mention in my comments before ;)

      I wish that Chen didn't out nobody and if not, that V boss wouldn't fire him. but what I'd wish more is, again, people having the full right to access medical care and assistance regardless from income. (wish somebody made a bingo class card for me too, *sighs*)
      -------------

      Yes, it should be you! How many american Will Shatterly are socialist humanist sci-fi writers that (probably) are involved in a project/newsletter whatever called utopian society? *winks*
      If you wish I can email his name, probably you already know him because of utopian society (or at least she told me so)

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    3. +1 on that, especially the last paragraph about Chen and V.

      Now I'm very curious about the utopian society, but I'll be patient. :)

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  11. Isn't this a case of shouting fire in a crowded theater?

    Speech that causes harm is not protected. I'd say losing employment and health insurance constitutes harm.

    Of course the real villain of the piece is laws that allow employers to fire at will.

    If an law makes it possible for speech to be harmful, then it is governmental interference in free speech.

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    1. I would love it if the guy sued Chen. But I haven't a clue what argument a lawyer would make, especially in Texas.

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