Basically here’s the deal. If you read me, you know that for years, this guy named Sean Manchester has stalked me. He’s a self professed “vampire hunter” that’s been made fun of by everything from the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK to Ramsey Campbell and Neil Gaiman mocking him in writing. He’s appeared on radio shows, done documentaries and has 6 or so books published and probably three times as many written about him. He’s been listed as a public figure since the late 1960’s. That’s nearly 40 years.
Why does he stalk me? Well, spell the last name backwards and that’s a pretty good hint.
OMG! My name almost is an anagram for Dracula! Holy crap! Obviously I am the lord of the undead! Bring me human blood and a pile of earth to line my coffin with! Sigh…
At first it was just crazy ranting emails, but then it eventually spread to my livejournal. He’d attack me, attack LJ friends, and even attack other anon commentors that would turn out to be rival occultists/vampire hunters. He’s been considered a right nut for over three decades by everyone who has ever encountered him.
Eventually though he decided to play nasty. He would complain to LJabuse that his name was showing up in my LJ and that it was an invasion of his privacy. Never mind that all these conversations were started by him or because of his stalking, or that the comments he was complaining about were often HIS OWN. Somehow he decided a public figure shouldn’t be talked about negatively. Even though every court on earth has laughed him right out of it every time he’s whined.
So of course this means LJabuse, the group of volunteers who enforced a Draconian order over Livejournal, decided to agree with him simply because “they had never heard of him.” This began a six month battle where I offered them legal definitions, books by and about him, transcripts of shows he was in and even court precedent and legal papers showing he was a public figure and that they were merely helping him harass me out of ignorance and foolish pride that wouldn’t allow them to admit they were wrong.
Honestly, if you were told “I have court precedent and documentation showing you are wrong.” don’t you think you’d be a wee nip curious about those and the fact you just might be going against legal rulings? Not LJ Abuse. Indeed, for trying to help them do their job properly and legally, I was banned from livejournal completely, being called “subversive.”
Now it was obvious to me by this point noone on LJabuse had any inkling of how the law works, what a person’s rights are and so on? Me, I have three degrees, two of which are in Political Science. The first has an emphasis on Constiutional Law, the second in International Political Law. So I’m no lawyer by any means, but I have more than a layman’s knowledge on these things, especially since I’ve been considered a public figure for about a decade. I like to know what little rights I have.
That and the fact I have in my hands a court ruling from April 18th, 2006 showing that Sean Manchester tried this bullshit with a documentary that made fun of him, and it was thrown out of court because he’s a legal figure. Considering all this insanity with LJ Abuse started in June ‘06, you’d think they would again listen when I had a court ruling not even 60 days old on the matter.
This of course meant I had to take things to Sixapart. I explained the situation to Jane, their head of PR and Press Manager. She totally understood and was sympathetic. She agreed with me that LJ ABuse’s ruling was assonine and promised to help me out and make sure it got over turned.
That was Thursday.
Also on Thursday, I ended up talking to Joel, the head of LJ Support. He didn’t seem to understand what this was all about and I spent 20 minutes going over the same story with him. “Crazy nut ruled as a public figure harasses me. LJ abuse suspended me because they didn’t consider him a public figure even though I have legally binding proof.”
Joel’s response, “It sounds to me like you have different opinions as to what a public figure is.” No, I have legal defintions, LJabuse has assumptions and ignorance. Joel even admitted to me on the phone no one in LJ Abuse has a strong working defintion of law. OMGWTF, right? It’s not that he was being stupid, or dissmissive. It was that he had a hard time wrapping his head around the sheer weirdness of this. I mean, if someone told you about a crazy old man who hunts vampires whining in your LJ because you were making fun of them, how surreal would that be to you. I’m disapointed, but I understand and I’m cool with it all.
I told Joel that I have enough legal proof, enough witnesses from LJ willing to come testify for me, enough published authors who can prove the same thing has been done to them and Manchester was laughed at for trying this, and court cases from this year showing I am in the legal right here. Joel asked me to send him some, but LJAbuse was ignorant of how the law worked and felt that being a published author doesn’t make one a public figure when according to common law rulings on this, IT DOES. Six published books, documentaries, unauthorized biographies and so on= permanently branded public figure. I even highlighted that legal discussion for him when I sent it to him.
So far Joel has not responded or returned my calls, even though Jane has promised he would. I’d like to think he’s still trying trying to wrap his head around all this bullshit. I mean, it’s been less than a week. I’d love things to be magically done now, but there’s the whole needing patience thing.
On the other side of things, the Better Buisness Bureau has gotten involved with a formal complaint being lodged, the ACLU has gotten involved, and Ofcom, the regulatory commission for all forms of media in the UK has gotten involved. I also have several far more well known authors that me (and really, that’s not a hard feat to accomplish :-P) willing to but in an afffidavit that they have written about Manchester and that he’s a nut, LJ’ers willing to testify to his stalking me, Media organizations and their corresponding documents showing he’s a public figure, and a lot more.
In all, I’ve been basically told by every outlet possible it’s not a question of If I will win if I bring this to litigation, it’s how big the dump truck full of money will be. However said people are obviously biased towards me or people who want me to sue so they can represent me, so take it with a grain of salt.
The truth is, I don’t want to sue. And I more than likely won’t unless there’s like no other option. I believe in discourse and mediation. I feel lawsuits are pretty shitty things in general. I just want my LJ back and a written apology from LJ/Sixapart saying they made a mistake and that it won’t happen again. The apology isn’t to lord over them. It’s for my records in case this ever happened again, with maybe a new member of LJ ABuse coming on their team. Even then, getting the Lj back isn’t critical. What’s critical is staying in touch with friends and fans, and this might prove to be an equally valid alternative.
I’m not mad at LJ ABuse either. They’re volunteers, and when you have an unpaid staff, you generally get the lesser pickings and the fanatics with no life outside that activity. They’re unaware, ignorant, and have a long documented reputation of refusing to admit they are wrong, even in cases like this where I’ve explained they are unwittingly responsible for aiding and abetting harrassment, stalking, assault, and most of all tampering with court admissible documents, as a few people who plan to sue Manchester wanted to use my LJ as proof of him attacking others. This is obviously one of the reasons Manchester got my journal suspended, as without the LJ, there’s no proof against his insane rantings and verbal assualts against people. Again, in LJabuse’s ignorance, they said “We’ll export all your journal entries” they miss my main point that the comments are needed as that’s where the proof is.
I realize LJ abuse is pretty unequipped to handle anything beyond “OMG LOLZ that are cruel in someone’s journal.” This is beyond their understanding and capability. it’s beyond most people’s as thankfully most people are rational enough not to believe in the undead. That’s why I can’t get mad., or rather I can’t stay mad for very long It would be like someone getting mad at me because they were talking Quantum physics and I just stared at them confused and befuddled.
I’m also not mad at Sixapart. I realize it’s not every day one public figure attacks another, declaring the second to be the Lord of the Undead. It’s a very bizarre and insane situation I wish I wasn’t part of, but there it is. I greatly appreciate Jane’s efforts, while I am highly dissapointed by Joel’s, but again, I can see where he’s coming from. It strongly feels to me that Joel hopes if he ignores me, I will go away, but the truth is, if ignored or dismissed, I will have to lodge the lawsuit, if only to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
Again, I don’t want to sue, but this is an obvious breach of my First Amendement rights, my right (although it sounds silly writing it) to defend myself when people come into my blog and go “OMG! VAMPIRE”, not to mention LJ Abuse setting precedent that they are willing to ignore several international bodies of law and their ruling on this matter simply due to the fact they are a collected group of people who really are in over their heads sometimes. It also sets a precedent that no public figure can be made fun of in LJ. Can’t make fun of Lindsay Lohan for her belief that Al Gore will be her new best friend or Michael Jackson for liking little boys. This is VERY dangerous and is basically a dick in the ass of all blogger’s rights. AFter all, blogging is supposed to be the new journalism, and what does that tell you when people who have no understanding of due process, torts, or any basical legal rights are making decisions left and right over several million people. Decisions that are sometimes illegal in and of themselves. Worst of all they aided and abetted in harrassment, stalking, and assault, yet attacked me for doing something that was legal in every way possible. Just insane.
The only thing that matters to me is that I can’t sue Manchester directly because I AM a public figure. And because I’m pretty sure he’s on the dole. You don’t sue welfare cases. And you don’t sue simply for money. Hell, I’m a believer that no lawsuit should be centered around financial compensation. Which I realize makes me naive, but I write about Pikachu. Is this character trait a real shock? I just know a bunch of people back in the UK have said they wanted to use my Lj as court admissible evidence of what he does, and Manchester’s whole plan to have my LJ removed was to remove that evidence from being admissible in a court of law. That’s obstruction of justice and it pisses me off to no end. Really, my own petty wants and needs don’t matter. Hell, i’ve complied with this shit in the past from them. But when LJabuse fucks with me and that in turns hurts a lot of others, that’s when I’m willing to stand up and say “no more.” That sounds really hollier than thou though. :-P
Like I said, I’ve been told by just about everyone to sue, and that it’s a pretty damn airtight case against Sixapart because of legal precedence. I’m not convinced and I keep having to say that to people. I still want to believe Sixapart will wake up, realize LJabuse’s MASSIVE fuck up, and apologize to me, or at least prevent this from happening again. But if I have to go to court to prevent this nut job from being allowed to harrass all over the net from PoE to Wikipedia, then I will. Fuck my own ego. I just hate seeing assholes get away with shit.
And that’s all I can really say legally right now. I’ll update with happenings here and there on this issue, such as various news agencies picking up the story (as I’ve found out people are linking to this or reporting it), but other than that this will act as my blog until LJ sees fit to restore mine or allow me access to import my old one.
Please note, I can’t respond to or see the comments LJ’ers leave in the RSS feed of this blog, so if you want me to respond or read your comments, please leave them here at http://www.alexanderlucard.com/wordpress
And with that note, it’s time to get things back to normal. Enough fucking blog drama yo.