Trump supporter giving a Nazi salute at a rally on March 11, 2016 (left, photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune) James Woods attending a movie premiere in 2013 (right, photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

James Woods is still suing a dead man for defamation over a tweet that claimed Woods was a cocaine addict. Woods said that even though the man is now dead, he still wants the anonymous Twitter user doxxed. Ironically, Woods has now been slapped with a Twitter defamation suit of his own. What did Woods, a man who is definitely not addicted to cocaine, do? He misidentified the woman in a viral photo as a prominent Bernie Sanders supporter.

Back in March of 2016, the photo above went viral. It shows a Trump supporter giving a Nazi salute at a cancelled rally in Chicago. Many Trump supporters started to claim that the woman was actually a Bernie Sanders supporter trying to make then-candidate Trump look bad. Donald Trump Jr. and conservative actor James Woods even identified the woman as Portia Boulger. But Boulger is now suing Woods for defamation, asking for $3 million in damages, because it’s definitely not her.


The woman in the photo is actually Birgitt Peterson, a Trump supporter who defended her salute, saying that it was a form of counterprotest against people who said that Trump was like Hitler. Peterson was born in Germany in 1946 and became an American citizen in 1982.

“They said Trump is a second Hitler,” Peterson told the New York Times in March. “I said do you know what that sign stands for? Do you know who Hitler really was?”


But before Peterson was positively identified in the press, people like Donald Trump Jr. and James Woods were sharing the speculation that the woman in the photo was actually a Bernie Sanders supporter. Specifically, they pointed the finger at Portia Boulger, an organizer for Bernie Sanders.

Screenshot of the now-deleted tweet from James Woods accusing Portia Boulger of being the woman making a Nazi salute in the photo from March 2016 at a rally outside Chicago

The lawsuit filed by Boulger in federal court alleges that, “During the period from March 12, 2016 through March 23, 2016, while Mr. Woods’ tweet remained posted on his Twitter account, Ms. Boulger received hundreds of obscene and threatening messages, including death threats.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Boulger asked for a retraction by Woods on Twitter. The lawsuit claims that he was initially hesitant to do so, but eventually did delete the tweet and issued three “apology” tweets, one in which he misspells Boulger’s name as Boulder.


Boulger claims that two of the three “apology” tweets were themselves “false, insulting and demeaning.” She also provided a few examples of the messages she received on Facebook and Twitter:

  • “Hi Cunt. Just wanted to let you know the internet knows you’re the ‘fucking bleeding cum oozing twat that was found giving a hitler salute and pretending to be a trump supporter”
  • “Go fuck yourself you ignorant liberal sack of shit, then you can go suck Bernie Sandercock!!!”
  • “Hope you get cunt cancer and die. What’s wrong? Can’t you win, honestly? You fucking coward! I hope you go to one of your fucking rallies and get raped by a gaggle of thugs with AIDS!”
  • “Off to buy me an evil gun with a couple of 15-round mags.”

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, a lawyer for James Woods, Michael E. Weinsten of Lavely & Singer, issued a statement claiming that Woods actually “went out of his way to defend Boulger” against harassment:

My client is no doubt surprised by this patently bogus lawsuit. In response to a rumor circulating on the internet about Ms. Boulger’s alleged affiliation with a Trump rally, Mr. Woods tweeted a question seeking clarification. On its face, that is not defamation. In fact, Mr. Woods went out of his way to defend Ms. Boulger against alleged harassment. This case proves the adage ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’


Yes, it would appear that the good deeds of James Woods really backfired on him this time. Much like that good deed of continuing to pursue a defamation lawsuit against a dead man. An anonymous man who Woods claims he hopes died screaming his name.

Woods is the real hero here.

[Hollywood Reporter]


Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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