Tag Archives: defamation

It’s Legally OK to be Gay

14 Jun
Pride flag is raised!

Photo by Flickr user Whitney Arlene

Defamation – and its synonyms “slander” (spoken defamation) and “libel” (published defamation) – is generally defined as a false statement of fact that causes harm to a person and his reputation.  Obviously, its more complicated than just that, and the law is different if you’re a public figure or a private person. 

In New York, “a statement has defamatory connotations if it tends to expose a person to ‘public hatred, shame, obloquy, contumely, odium, contempt, ridicule, aversion, ostracism, degradation or disgrace, or to induce an evil opinion of [a person] in the minds of right-thinking persons.'”  A plaintiff suing for slander must show that he has suffered damages unless the alleged statement is considered slander per se

Slander per se, until recently, included “statements (i) charging [a] plaintiff with a serious crime; (ii) that tend to injure another in his or her trade, business or profession; (iii) that [a] plaintiff has a loathsome disease; or (iv) imputing unchastity to a woman”… the Appellate Division Departments, including this Court in dicta, have recognized statements falsely imputing homosexuality as a fifth per se category.”

Because of changing social perceptions and changes in both federal and state laws concerning homosexuality, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department recently ruled that the inclusion of homosexuality among the per se categories imputed some sort of shame or disgrace, and ruled that it would no longer be considered defamatory per se. 

This little, barely-noticed ruling, is yet another step in the massive societal shift that has been taking place over the last several decades whereby homophobia has gone from being the statutory norm to, itself, a subject of shame and sometime criminality. While the people who rely on, and profit from, hatred and fear are having their last gasp, at least in New York State, we can say we’re doing the right thing. 

Paladino Calls Utica Assembly Candidate “Mob-Connected”

6 Jul

Republicans Throughout New York Seek Paladino's Endorsement

I have no idea why Carl Paladino’s Ellicott Development is busy emailing anything to me, nor do I give a crap about a special election in the 116th Assembly District, wherever that is.  But in that email, touting the candidacy of one “Greg Johnson”, a Republican who has just killed his chances by seeking and obtaining the endorsement of a toxic failed gubernatorial candidate and bully, Paladino describes Johnson’s Democratic opponent thusly:

On the contrary his opponent is a personal injury lawyer in his family’s shady mob connected law firm.  On the Utica School Board, he’s raised taxes and increased spending ever year.  He is just not ready or tested to take on the challenges of Albany.

He will use his family’s vast resources to distort Greg’s record and smear his name.  This is the only course of action he has as his experience and record as a injury lawyer and tax and spend school board member do not match up to Greg’s.

The emphasis there is mine.

A quick Google search reveals that the Democrat is 32 year-old Utica school board member and attorney Anthony Brindisi. This interview reveals him to be anything but a New York City, Upper West Side, mob-connected socialist Paladino smears him as.

I’ll be contacting the Brindisi campaign today to ask them to respond to Paladino’s poorly chosen and defamatory accusation.