Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is suing Starzlife, the website that published pictures of the writer having sex with an ex-boyfriend, for three million dollars damages.
Black is also suing the person who leaked the naughty photos. Black, who also speaks on gay rights issues and safe sex practices across America, is planning to sue Starzlife Inc. Black has also filed a lawsuit against Michael Lawrence Delancey's ex-boyfriend who alleges he stole the photos from Delancey's computer while they were together. Black claims in the lawsuit that he thought the photos were merely of "their heads and upper torsos", were not of a sexually explicit nature and were to remain private.
This is an incredibly bad idea. As the owner of a blog that's had several unnecessary lawsuit threats, I'd like to offer a bit of free advice on internet public relations.
Also a complete copy of the court filings after the jump Two Case Studies in Bad Damage Control It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some lawyers can be when it comes to the internet.
Two recent examples from the Bilerico vaults: Indiana blogger Gary Welsh Gary Welsh is a gay Republican blogger that is often the brunt of the local blogosphere's jokes. He's a staunch "birther" who often lashes out at other bloggers and media and has no qualms about being inflammatory or derisive; it's why he's so often a target for ridicule.
In April of , Welsh sent me a howling e-mail referencing Tyrion's use of a pen name. He wanted his critic silenced. Rather than email back, I replied in a blog posting that told him, literally, " Fuck directly off. Welsh's tactic backfired; instead of getting what he wanted it made for a bigger story that was picked up by many political bloggers around the state and even a local radio talk show. His intimidation tactics got my hackles up and left a bad taste in the mouth of most other political junkies.
It was simply not a good PR move and he would have been better off letting it go. Rockstar Energy Drink vs Internet When Rockstar Energy Drink didn't like a blog post written by a guest contributor , their lawyers came calling. Their threatened lawsuit for millions of dollars really pissed me off and we weren't the only site getting cease and desist e-mails or phone calls. After I blew the lid on Rockstar's legal blustering, the story spread like internet wildfire.
Other bloggers talked about the threats they'd received and stories popped up on numerous websites and in other media. At one point social media giant Reddit's users were complaining at how often something about Rockstar Energy Drink was on their front page as a top story. We all make mistakes, however, and while we're a judgmental community, sadly, barebacking isn't something that is likely to stick out in people's minds.
He's apologized and explained his actions and should stick to advocating for safe-sex education; his own personal story will only make his testimonies more compelling.
While I don't deny that Black didn't want the photos published, his claims that he didn't know the pics showed anything more than his head and torso ring incredibly false. Let's face it, tons of gay men have naked pictures of themselves.
In the days of internet dating, hook-up sites and chat rooms, the cock shot or sexy nude pose has become de rigueur for the sexually active gay man. Nonetheless, most anyone would probably be embarrassed to have those pictures splashed across the internet and queer news portals. As the owner of a serious queer news and opinion blog, I can testify to the power of sex to bring attention and dollars.
Our slightly scandalous posts bring the viewers needed to pay the bills. See the top ten posts for a typical month and do a comparison of serious vs sexy to see what I mean. While Black's barebacking might be a mini tempest of talk to begin with, it's the sex factor that will keep gay men coming back for more.
As a young, cute and famous queer, Black's image will likely only be bolstered by the nudie shot floating around in cyberspace. A Better Solution Dustin Lance Black would be better served by letting the issue die a quiet and ignoble death. The original hit to his image is now taking a double dose of negative publicity as talk about the pictures comes back to the headlines If you want something to go away quietly, you don't shout about it from the roof of a stadium.
Welsh is still a target of ridicule, but Rockstar ended up with quite a bit of positive publicity and goodwill. Just look at this post; I've been able to link all the past posts which just keeps those events alive on the web.
Black's ill-served decision to sue the website for a huge sum of money only serves the same purpose. Now his photos are circulating again and being linked to by website that have untold millions of viewers.
He's creating his own perfect storm. Letting the story die on its own while reaping the rewards of the average gay man's penchant for the occasional nudie pic would be a much smarter PR move.
Black should fire whoever is advising him and hire a web savvy PR firm; this is a rookie mistake that could have been avoided.