What If Everybody James Woods Talked Shit About On Twitter Sued Him?

Illustration for article titled What If Everybody James Woods Talked Shit About On Twitter Sued Him?

James Woods has filed a $10 million lawsuit against a semi-anonymous Twitter user who tweeted that the actor was a cocaine addict. Many people are holding up this case as the perfect example of the Streisand Effect, where more attention is drawn to the accusations by suing rather than ignoring the trolls.

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But what if Woods were held to the same standard to which he’s holding this random Twitter user who had a relatively minuscule number of followers? Inspired by Radley Balko’s tweet below, we took a quick peek through James Woods’ Twitter account, which had a rather amazing number of references to Benghazi.

Woods calls people liars, accuses them of being responsible for murder, and has some rather strange things to say about the sexual fantasies of magazine publishers.

That time he called this actress a disgusting liar:

That time Woods implied that Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, had erotic fantasies about the Boston Marathon bomber:

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He took it a step further and made some more explicit accusations about Wenner, claiming that he might be pleasuring himself to the bomber’s image:

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That time he called Al Sharpton a murderer:

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That time he called Hillary Clinton and Jane Fonda treacherous and cowardly:

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Now, to be clear, we don’t think James Woods should be sued over any of these tweets. But if the standard for defamation is someone simply saying something stupid and over the top online, James Woods should expect at least half a dozen lawsuits in the coming days.

Chill out and don’t feed the trolls, Mr. Woods. Also, Benghazi.

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Fiji Water/AP Images

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DISCUSSION

DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane
DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane

Technically, the difference is that in the selected tweets, James Woods is always “wondering” or stating an opinion.

The tweet the lawsuit is over is a claim of “fact”, which is required for libel/slander. The tweet describes James Woods definitively as “cocaine addict James Woods”. Not “I wonder how much cocaine James Woods does per night”. Not “I bet James Woods does a ton of blow”. Not even “I think James Woods is a cocaine addict”. It was “Cocaine addict James Woods still sniffing and spouting”. (Bold there is totally random. Honest.)

That said, since James Woods is a public figure so he also needs to show malice. Which he almost certainly won’t be able to. Once the suit fails, he’ll then need to worry about an anti-SLAPP lawsuit, depending on how badly it fails.