In 1983, Hustler Magazine published a parody mimicking a Campari advertising campaign that conducted interviews with celebrities about “their first time,” a double-entendre about their first time drinking the alcohol. In the parody, the subject was the famous televangelist Jerry Falwell who misunderstood the “first-time” question and said his first time was with his mother in an outhouse. At the bottom of the ad was fine print which said, “ad parody—not to be taken seriously,” which was for readers who took Hustler seriously. Jerry Falwell took it seriously.
Falwell sued the owner of Hustler, Larry Flynt. Falwell won in a U.S. district court in Virginia, and then he won an appeal by Flynt. On the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, the jury ruled in favor of Falwell and awarded him $150,000 in damages. Flynt didn’t take it lying down and took it all the way to the Supreme Court where he won a unanimous decision by all eight judges (there was a vacancy at the time), even the freaky conservative ones like William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia.
They ruled that the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution prohibit public figures from recovering damages from emotional distress caused by a caricature, parody, or satire. Larry Flynt, a porn publisher, spent millions protecting our freedom of speech. Every editorial cartoonist in this nation owes Flynt a big thank you, which I gave in person several years ago.
So, if Flynt can get away with saying Jerry Falwell had drunken outhouse sex with his mom then a parody Twitter account can impersonate Congressman Devin Nunes’ mom and his cow. Right? Yes, they can, but Nunes doesn’t think so and has filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, his fake mom, and the imaginary cow. Seriously.
Maybe Nunes believes he has a case if the cow’s followers believe it’s an actual tweeting cow. Only if they’re Republicans. Does the cow need a disclaimer that it’s not actual Devin Nunes’ cow?
Nunes, like Donald Trump, has very thin skin. These guys who consider themselves “Constitutionalists” want to destroy First Amendment protections. Trump wants the FCC to regulate humor so it’s not one-sided and Nunes wants laws preventing people from making fun of him. Trump and Nunes are also arguing that social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook are restricting conservatives’ accounts on their platforms. They’re really worried it’ll hamper Russian trolls in 2020.
To argue about these platforms that don’t allow diversity of viewpoints, he went on Fox News and talked to Sean Hannity. Seriously.
The person you need to help sell that saying untrue stuff should be illegal is…Sean Hannity? Seriously?
In the lawsuit, Nunes argues that being called a “presidential fluffer” and “swamp rat” (seriously) interfere with his important investigation of “corruption by the Clinton campaign and alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election.” He also argues that people on Twitter making fun of him were trying to influence the outcome of the 2018 Congressional election. Seriously.
I’m going to make a public statement now and I want to be clear. The cartoon above was drawn with malice with the intention of defaming and injuring Devin Nunes’ name and reputation. I would say “good name,” but Nunes doesn’t have one…like his face. I really want Nunes to feel bad about this.
Here’s the thing, Devin (may I call you “Devin” or do you prefer “Mr. Fluffer?”)…I’m not afraid of Donald Trump. I’m not afraid of his supporters. After three years of them threatening and trying to intimidate me on SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE TWITTER, I’m still not afraid of them. Granted, none of them has started a cow Twitter account against me, but if they had, I think I could handle it. My point is if I’m not afraid of the president of the United States, who has hired fixers in the past to bully people and has the largest bully pulpit in the world in which to bully, then I’m not ever going to be afraid of a whiny, little, thin-skinned, presidential fluffer, treasonous pissant like you or any lawyers stupid enough to help you sue without understanding how the First Amendment works.
I don’t know your mom, and I’m sure she’s a nice person, but she should be more ashamed of you than of the account parodying her. And if you did actually own a cow, it would have jumped a fence by now to avoid being associated with you. The only cow dumb enough to be seen with you in public is orange with a bad combover.
Save yourself the trouble of suing me, Congressman and I’ll just go ahead and write you a check for a pair of big boy pants. Try not to shit in them next time someone calls you “fluffer.”
Watch the video.