Web Exclusive: Funds still needed for ‘Defense against Carrier SLAPP Suit’ (Mixed)


By Jenna Olson
Publisher of the Bolingbrook Babbler

We want to remind our readers that Dr. Richard Carrier is suing Freethought Blogs, The Orbit, Skepticon, and several individuals for the reporting of allegations of inappropriate behavior. There is a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the defendants.

From the page:

Dr. Richard Carrier is suing us for reporting on his well-known allegations of misconduct. These allegations were widely reported on throughout the community, including by third-parties both critical and sympathetic to him who are not themselves defendants.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. All the defendants are represented by the same attorney, First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. Randazza is providing his services at a significant discount, but we are not asking him to work for free. Plus, there are thousands of dollars in “costs” for the case that don’t include legal bills, and there is no way to discount those. In order to continue fighting this lawsuit, we, the defendants of this case, have put together this campaign to raise money to defray our costs, some of which is outstanding.

Donations will be used only for this case, withdrawn by Stephanie Zvan and disbursed to the lawyers and defendants to cover costs as they’re accrued. In the event that the funds raised exceed our legal bills, they will be donated to Planned Parenthood and a breakdown of what was spent where will be performed at the close of this campaign.

We are pooling our defense costs with Skepticon, however as a 501(c)3 non-profit, Skepticon is also conducting its own fundraiser where donations may be tax-deductible (ask your tax advisor). Skepticon cannot use donations it receives to help pay the shares of other individuals or organizations, though, and any excess funds raised via their campaign will go to the Skepticon conference fund.

We are confident that the court will uphold our First Amendment rights. But, through time, stress, and of course financial expense, every case like this has a chilling effect. Your support enables us to fight, and creates a warmer environment – not just for us but for others in the future.

Thank you for your support of freedom of speech, and may your new year be powerful and effective!

-Amy Frank-Skiba

-Lauren Lane

-PZ Myers

-Stephanie Zvan

These cases are expensive, even if they are dismissed.  While this happened before we joined Freethought Blogs, we fully support all the defendants and hope you will consider supporting them too.