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Strange Gawker Reply To Durst Sex Tape Suit

Rich Ord
CEO, iEntry, Inc.
Published: 2005-03-05

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Gawker was served a lawsuit on Friday by the legal team of Fred Durst. You may recall that he was the second celebrity whose Sidekick was hacked.

Of course, Paris Hilton was the first. Unfortunately for Fred, his T-Mobile Sidekick contained a 3 and a half minute video of him banging a sexy young girl.

Apparently, Gawker.com found the video on the internet, downloaded it to their servers and then linked to it prominently. The essence of the suit really is the fact that they hosted the video. If they had simply linked to the video on another site they may not have faced possible liability.

What I find astonishingly childish is Gawkers response. Possibly, they were just keeping in tune with the typical irreverent Gawker style, but when you are faced with a muti-million dollar suit you would think they would have vetted their sarcasm with their lawyers first.

I'm a big fan of Gawker and some of their other blogs as well and I can understand that they would want to give their spin to their readers ... but this in your face sarcastic public response to Fred Durst and his lawyers is crazy ... it can only hurt them in court.

At Gawker.com here is what they said: (The headline is theirs)

Fred Durst: Touch My Balls And My Ass And Then Sue Gawker

Dear Fred Durst,

There's an old saying around the Gawker offices, coined by our wise Hungarian goat-herding ancestors: you're nobody until somebody hates you. But we had it wrong. It turns out that you're actually nobody until some other nobody sues you. Thank you, Fred Durst and your fabulous band of lawyers, for setting us straight.

Honestly, though, we don't know why you're so mad at us. The situation is really rather simple. Someone sent us a link to a video of your penis, we went into shock, and we shared it with the world for about 2 hours. Then we wept, found God, took a hot bath, and removed the video from our site.

But nothing we do is ever good enough for you, is it? Your exotic Californian lawyers sent us a cease-and-desist order on Monday, 3 days after we had already taken the video down. You were still hurting and we understood, but now you've gone and filed suit against us. We don't get it - we complied before you even got around to wasting paper on us, and now you want to take away what few shekels we have.

Are we out of order, Fred? Well, this whole crazy world is out of order. You can't handle the truth. You own Pan-Am. You own Congress. You own the Civil Aeronautics Board. But you do not own the sky, Fred. There was a crime, there was a victim, and there is punishment. You want to see this boy die because you personally want it, not because of the facts! A dingo ate my baby!

We'll see you in court. Or not, if you want to kiss and make up in the meantime. If your flowers are freshly cut, we can be rather forgiving.


Gawker Media also owns a popular site called Fleshbot which is a well done blog linking to a lot of porn. At Fleshbot they had this to say:

Gawker Media Dursted!

There's nothing like some hot and heavy celebrity lawsuit action to spice up a slow sex news day, especially when it's your parent company being served the papers: The Smoking Gun posts all the juicy Xeroxed goodness regarding Fred Durst's lawsuit against Gawker Media (along with nine other named defendants and "Does 1 through 100, inclusive", whoever they are-we only remember seeing one girl in the tape) for our roles in disseminating what had already been posted in approximately umptyjillion other places before we even rolled out of bed last Friday. We'll let the mothership handle the official response, although we should add that we are never, ever going to be able to get that "touch my ass and balls" soundbite out of our heads, and who can put a price on that kind of damage?

Gawker, I hope this all goes away because you produce great blogs ... but please take this suit seriously... it's for your own good! Mocking Durst is simply a stupid legal strategy and will not help your case with a judge or jury.

I have no idea if this case has any merit (and it probably doesn't) but when you are sued for $80 million you should call your lawyer ... not vent in your blogs.

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About the Author:
Rich Ord is the CEO of iEntry, Inc. which publishes over 200 websites and email newsletters.

Rich also publishes his blog WebProBlog which focuses on internet business and marketing trends.

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