A Win Against Revenge Porn Makes Advocates Angry

You would think this would be a big deal amongst the small crowd of passionate anti-revenge porn advocates, as it was a huge victory for a woman harmed. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

In what might be Michigan’s first revenge-pornography case resulting in a monetary judgment, a woman was awarded $500,000 this week after her ex-boyfriend posted nude photographs of her on multiple Internet sites.

Half a mil is a lot of money, but that’s not all. The woman’s lawyer, Kyle Bristow, did a great job taking down this miscreant.

According to court records from the Oakland County (Mich.) Circuit Court, Judge Martha Anderson awarded the sum Wednesday, which is set to accrue interest over time. Anderson also granted a permanent injunction against the ex-boyfriend, forcing him to immediately destroy and never republish the photos to third-party websites. If he does, Bristow said, he can be held in contempt and face prison or additional fines.

Unsurprisingly, Bristow’s client, whom he declined to name to protect her privacy, was thrilled by the outcome.  You know who wasn’t thrilled?  Of course you do. When asked whether she was involved in this huge victory, as she made no mention of it despite the fact that the anti-revenge porn forces will laud themselves for anything. Again, Mary Anne Franks responded:

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No wonder there was total silence by the teary-eyed advocates about this big win.  First, the win had nothing whatsoever to do with their effort to criminalize revenge porn. Ironically, the USA Today reporter, in a stab at thoroughness, connected dots that had no connection:

And although the number of sites has dwindled since then, Bristow said many revenge-porn photos are still posted on Tumblr, a popular social networking site.

Within the past year, a number of states — including Michigan — have passed laws that criminalize revenge pornography. According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a non-profit that advocates for legal and technological ways to fight online abuse, 34 states and the District of Columbia have revenge porn laws.

What the reporter didn’t grasp was that this win was not because of these laws, but despite them. The laws were not merely unnecessary, but failed. Bristow, on the other hand, prevailed without resort to criminal laws at the expense of the First Amendment.

Franks obviously realized it, as this story gave her team a spanking as to to its ineffectiveness. Not that it will prevent the next level of harm at the hands of Rep. Jackie Speier, who would undermine the Section 230 safe harbor in the process of making Franks relevant.

But the worst offense in the great win was Bristow himself. Not just that he’s male (ugh, patriarchy). Not just that he managed to pull off a victory that Franks keeps insisting isn’t possible without her. Not just because the CCRI, which wants to pretend its heroines are the saviors of womanhood on the internets, had nothing to do with it.  No, there was an evil far worse than any of these.

Kyle Bristow is a conservative!  There is no crime worse than not being progressive, and Bristow committed it.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he’s a hate group person.*  His thought-crimes caused the State Bar of Michigan to withdraw its honorable mention of a short story he wrote and apologize to readers. Apparently, it wasn’t so bad that they didn’t award him a prize, until someone explained to them that it was “embedded with racist cues and symbolism.”

Does Bristow think bad thoughts? Beats me, nor do I care. If he does, he’s allowed. ‘Murica.

But Bristow is four things that Mary Anne Franks is not. A lawyer.** Honest. Effective. Tough enough to suffer the slings and arrows of whiners who desperately want to be relevant, though their only competency is self-promotion within their tiny niche and shameless deceit.

But aren’t Franks’ contributions worthy of note, as the USA Today reporter did in trying to flesh out a story by including the wholly irrelevant criminalization of revenge porn? Among the tall tales told by Franks is that the revision of her model anti-revenge porn criminal law now includes an exception for images, the “disclosure of which is in the bona fide public interest.” While she at first vehemently denied this was needed, she later snuck it in as if it was her idea.

This was in response to the first Anthony Weiner selfies, which demonstrated the failure of her claim that her law wasn’t unconstitutional at its most basic level. Even after her uncredited addition, because she would never have the self-esteem to admit she was totally wrong, it still fell short because of the chilling effect of her vague exception. This too she denied, naturally.

Now, with Anthony Weiner’s latest bout with shit-for-brains, Franks proved that her claims were malarky in the Daily Dot.

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On the one side, there’s Kyle Bristow, a lawyer who won a huge victory for an actual victim of actual revenge porn. On the other, there’s Mary Anne Franks, who would go after the person who revealed a former Congressman’s, and husband of a top Hillary Clinton aide, dick pic, putting the lie to her “public interest” exception and establishing her bona fides as a merry internet censor.

Which one of these individuals better serves the interests of revenge porn victims? Which one has evil thoughts? Which one is a graver danger? Which one is totally full of shit?

*The SPLC explains, without cite, about Bristow:

Now a lawyer in suburban Detroit, he’s recently championed the cause of female victims, said by Bristow to be mostly white blondes, whose nude photos have been posted online as “revenge pornography” by ex-lovers.

What he actually wrote was:

Revenge pornography is nothing more than a manifestation of liberalism. Most victims on revenge pornography websites are young, white, blonde, middle class, American women. Women who the pornographers can link to conservatism or Christianity are especially targeted for harassment.

Whether or not this is accurate, it’s certainly not the same.

**While Franks is a criminal law professor (now tenured) at University of Miami Law School, she is not a lawyer. This is a wily move, since it allows her to avoid the duty not to deceive imposed by the lawyers’ Code of Professional Responsibility. She doesn’t tell anyone she’s not a lawyer, though, so journalists and politicians will believe her claims. Tricky.

15 thoughts on “A Win Against Revenge Porn Makes Advocates Angry

  1. Nigel Declan

    I would be remiss were I not to suggest that Mary Anne Franks is not unlike Leopold “Leo” Bloom of The Producers with respect to this case. Were the plaintiff not to have succeeded, which Franks might have believed to be the likely outcome, since the lawyer was unworthy of success in her eyes based on his failure to satisfy her vision of an anti-revenge porn warrior, she could potentially have capitalized on such failure to argue even more strongly for the need for criminal sanction, unconstitutional though it may be, since the civil system proved itself wholly inadequate. The client and her lawyer’s loss would have been Franks’ gain. Instead, with the client not only prevailing but with Bristow obtaining for her a substantial aware, Franks has lost this opportunity and, as such, seeks to undermine his accomplishment (attempting to blow up the theater, in this now-strained analogy) but, hopefully, will be revealed for the intellectual fraud that she is.

    I appreciate that I am selectively choosing the facts that best fit the narrative, ascribing to Franks thoughts and opinions she might only have had, if ever, in retrospect, but the comparison seemed timely.

    R.I.P. Gene Wilder

    1. SHG Post author

      Had a discussion on the twitters about this yesterday, with one of Mary Anne’s fanboys who argued that her only issue with this case was that Bristow was a white supremacist. Putting aside whether that’s accurate, I replied that when Marc Randazza achieved some great success for revenge porn victims, and Marco is most assuredly no white supremacist, her response was the same.

      So while she may claim now that the only problem is that Bristow is such a bad guy that she can’t applaud his win, it’s bullshit. Bristow may give her an easy excuse this time, but like most things Mary Anne claims, it’s just another lie. Her only interest is her own self-aggrandizement.

  2. Craig Nelsen

    The SPLC has grown very rich peddling hate porn and, like any pornographer, they never let a scruple stand in the way of a dollar. Whenever a reporter cites them as some kind of authority on “hate”, I know the reporter is, at best, lazy and ill-informed.

    Their bread and butter is plying the rich old lady circuit (speaking of The Producers) with scare stories and harvesting bequests from elderly Jews. It is in their financial interest that a Holocaust is always Just around the Corner, and it is to that narrative all their efforts are directed.

    Like any pornographer, in their zeal to sniff out a fresh new bogeyman for their next fund-raising letter, Skinhead Swarm III, starring Chip, the Nazi grocery-bagger, they are indifferent to the harm they cause–both to the individuals they victimize and to the poisonous impact on society in general.

    That Clinton cited the SPLC in her recent rant against Trump is sufficient in itself to disqualify her from office.

    1. SHG Post author

      Be careful not to conflate two separate issues. The SPLC finds hate under every rock, whether it’s there or it’s just someone who doesn’t totally share it’s politics. At the same time, there is antisemitism going on, particularly with the BDS movement on campus. These are not mutually exclusive.

      1. Craig Nelsen

        Hmm, I might offer the same caution. The SPLC works the Jews, The PTL Club works the Christians. Two sides of the same golden coin. Both greedy, both rich, both toxic, the former surpassing (by a mile) the latter on all three counts. Surely I may criticize the PTL Club without coming down one way or the other on the question of whether there is anti-christianism going on?

        1. SHG Post author

          People who start out with “Hmm” are invariably assholes. Occasionally flaming nutjobs, but always assholes. As for you offering the same caution, you could, but not on my blog, asshole. My earlier comment to you wasn’t a rebuke, but if you are such a snowflake that you took it that way, guess you will have to find someplace else to sooth your butthurt.

            1. Craig Nelsen

              hmmm, I notice, though, you didn’t address my actual point. You “conflated” accurate criticism of the SPLC with being dangerously close to Holocaust denial. I politely called you out, and you spazzed and called me an asshole. Kinda weak, wouldn’t you say?

            2. SHG Post author

              Nah. Tit for tat isn’t a point. That someone else is ugly doesn’t mean you’re not ugly too. I didn’t suggest that criticism of SPLC was dangerously close to Holocaust denial. It was the way you expressed your criticism that raised the question. Nor did I say you conflated the two, but cautioned about it (“be careful not to conflate”) because others might read it that way. You’re not that clear a writer. And you’re still an asshole.

            3. Craig Nelsen

              Hmm, it was the “way” I criticized the SPLC that has you calling me an asshole, huh? You know what that makes you? Weak. And a waste of time. I regret stumbling on this little, very little, corner of the Internet. Just remember. Assholes are functional. Weaklings are not even that.

            4. SHG Post author

              Nobody made you come to this “little, very little corner of the internet.” You are free to go. Us weaklings will just have to survive without you.

        2. Sgt. Schultz

          Don’t cry, tinkerbell. I hear “hmm” is the second favorite expression of 12 year old girls, right after OMG!!!

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