Some thoughts on being threatened with defamation by Melinda Tankard Reist

17 Jan

repression

 

Well, here’s the thing.

I have been challenging MTR for a couple of years on the Drum, at On Line Opinion, and on my blog. Not once has she debated, denied, argued, or contested the points I’ve made about her, and about the position from which she speaks.

Tankard Reist has a much bigger public platform than I do and far more opportunity to respond to her critics. But rather than engage in any debate at all with me over the last couple of years, she has now chosen to threaten me with a defamation suit. If she proceeds, she will financially ruin me.

I have to ask myself why someone does that when there have been a million opportunities for her to refute my arguments about her, and she has taken up none of them?

I can only conclude that Tankard Reist does not wish to debate with me, or refute those parts of my articles that she feel are inaccurate, and/or offend her.  Rather Melinda wants to silence me with the threat of litigation, and fill me with the fear of losing everything I have if I do not comply with her demands.

Demands that her lawyer, Ric Lucas of Colquhoun Murphy, the firm that successfully sued Bob Ellis after his Abbott and Costello book, has insisted I must not publish, in another attempt to bully, intimidate and control me. Mr Lucas does not want me to reveal to anyone what those demands are.

The two statements I made that offended Tankard Reist, according to her lawyer’s letter, are 1) I stated she is a Baptist, which he claims in the letter she is not, and 2) that I expressed my opinion that MTR is duplicitious and deceptive about her religion.

If I do not retract both these statements, apologise in a format MTR’s lawyer determines is sufficient for her needs, and pay for all her legal costs (even though there has been no writ served and the matter has not got anywhere near court, still they are demanding I pay the costs she has incurred to date) I will be faced with financial ruin as I defend a defamation suit.

Someone with the resources who feels offended can do this.

Tankard Reist had and continues to have infinite opportunities to address the perceived offenses,  and to reveal to everyone her  true position, if it is not what I have said it is. She has a large platform from which to do this and she could make me look quite wrong. In which case I would apologise without hesitation.

However, she does not, apparently, want to declare herself, so she has chosen the threat of litigation in the expectation that will cause me to shut up, and cough up, without even having to go to court.

Personally, I would not choose this path. I think it is much better for our society if individuals thrash out differences in transparent debate, rather than threatening one another with something that will silence contesting views, and make it less and less possible for anyone without money to express contentious views at all.

In the article in the Age this morning, Tankard Reist claimed she doesn’t mind being called a “Christian.” But I called her a Baptist and have been threatened with defamation for doing it. Why not just say what kind of Christian she is and correct me?

Apparently Tankard Reist can afford to bring this suit, and will not be financially ruined by doing so. I am assuming that no one would voluntarily ruin themselves just to shut someone else up. I could be wrong.

There is something terribly wrong with this picture, and the legal system that allows it. There is no sense of proportion. That Tankard Reist can make me pay with everything because I described her as a Baptist and expressed an opinion on the type of behaviour she exhibits when anyone questions her about her religion, is simply insane.

I can only say that her choice of litigation as a means of dealing with publicity about her religious beliefs really does nothing to correct the observations for which I am being threatened with defamation.

 

 

 

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149 Responses to “Some thoughts on being threatened with defamation by Melinda Tankard Reist”

  1. Hawkpeter January 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    The irony is too delicious, MTR is claiming some sort of character assassination on your part when in fact her character has just committed suicide. Everybody now knows who she really is.

    MTR, Barbara Streisand just called; she wants her internet meme back.

    Jennifer, its probably not very comforting hearing from random posters on your blog but I think I speak for many when I say ‘we got your back’. If MTR follows through with any sort of actual legal action, support will flow for you very quickly. It will be painted on the rooftops.

    Coach Pete

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      It is HUGELY comforting, and I am brought to tears of gratitude by the comments here.

      Like

  2. Paul Skinner January 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Maybe let it go, apologize and move on to fight another day. Your point has been made and those that matter will read between the lines. This forum attracted me because of the title and the content. Staying out of mainstream media by staying out of court. I dont need to follow this through litigation to appreciate your position. Court is the domain if controlling personalities.

    Like

  3. Abigail Bray January 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    ATT: Ric Lucas,
    please be aware that I do not support the defamation action taken against Dr Jennifer Wilson.

    Wilson writes ‘If she proceeds, she will financially ruin me.’

    My own reputation has been challenged in this blog but I will not stand by and let Wilson be ruined financially.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Dr Bray, I thank you for this, and you are an honourable woman.

      Like

  4. David McMillan January 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Melissa Tankard Reist needs to be attacked on every level in every way – Go, Jennifer!

    Like

    • Horse January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      The egotistical side is well emphasized in this interview, down to “the movements” she founded, and the way she talks about and shifts the emphasis on abortion “choice” –

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-11/one-plus-one-friday-11-november/3661356

      Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      I’m sorry Richard, I had to take some of that out as we are being monitored by MTR’s lawyers!
      However I totally agree with the sentiments you expressed! Thank you.

      Like

    • Cate January 19, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      “Melinda Tankard Reist needs to be attacked on every level in every way”…. people who attack people in this way are breaking the law. What? Physical violence? Stalking?

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 19, 2012 at 10:23 am #

        I do not believe anybody should be attacked in person, and I believe the comment refers to attacking beliefs.

        Like

      • Hoffmann January 20, 2012 at 1:16 am #

        anonymous online blogger known as Cate

        Do you ‘all’ twist words to suit your paranoid outlook on life?

        Ever heard of context?

        Like

  5. Horse January 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    This blog post is one of the best third-party commentaries yet: not the bit about the crickey blog, the rest after that – http://furiouspurpose.me/pure-rubbish-from-pure-poison/

    Like

    • Horse January 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      * crikey, even

      Like

  6. paul walter January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Paul Skinner has made a very sage point. Tanky has been forced to show her true colours and from my vantage-point, I see little of any alleged “Christianity” involved; certainly nothing of what I’ve ever been familiar with that would constitute that.
    In fact, if THAT’S “Christianity”, I’ll go out and join a coven, so I can feel clean again.
    Since we are under surveillance, I’d suggest that the Thought-Gestapo return to their mistress with advice to consider the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, a New Testament parable obiously no come across by the so-called “Christians”, on their eyes-wide-shut travels. The victims suffer in this life, their oppressors burn throughout eternity.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Well put, PW. Who would ever have thought we’d be under surveillance? Our little unknown piece of the internet.

      Like

      • Hulk Smash January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

        Not so unknown any more. I will support anyone who is willing to criticise crazy moralists like Tankard and that whole slew of strange people including sonderegger who are poisoning our society.

        This blog will be one of my goto sites from now on after being linked from a popular news site.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

          Welcome, and I hope you enjoy the writing here. It isn’t always mine, there are some other good people who occasionally contribute.

          Like

  7. Trevor Melksham January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I am willing to contribute $100 to your defence. It’s about time people took a stand against Christian terrorism, of which this threat is but a minor example. I thank MTR for her action in one respect only – it drew my attention to your blog – boookmarked for life.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      I just replied to your second comment before reading this one! Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy it here.

      Like

  8. Trevor Melksham January 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Stuff it, I’ll contribute $1,000

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      That’s lovely! But as yet I’m OK and will be unless it escalates to being sued instead of the threat. Thank you, a hundred times for your generosity of heart.

      Like

  9. Cate January 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    It sounds to me like you have to make a choice now Jennifer, either an apology and retraction, or to proceed and likely be sued. I honestly think it would be easier to avoid the stress of legal proceedings and apologize for your alleged mistake.

    MTR has for whatever reason decided not to debate or engage with you, but she has had her lawyers ask you to remove supposed defamatory posts/statements. My interpretation is she feels you have either trashed her or told untruths, and by involving her lawyers she is ensuring her request is taken seriously. So she hasn’t actually sued you yet, and if you agree to her request then she would have no reason to. You don’t need to be ruined financially.

    Whichever path you choose, I can’t imagine it would help your interests to be publicly blogging and tweeting about the subject- it could just make her case stronger.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      I will not be bullied into apologising. I’m only too ready to apologise when I know that’s the right thing for me to do. But I won’t be forced into a fake apology to gratify someone else’s needs.

      My experience is that being absolutely transparent about this situation is the best thing for me. To be bullied on financial grounds like this is absolutely unacceptable to me.

      Like

      • Katey January 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

        Damn straight. Don’t give in, you have done nothing wrong.

        Like

  10. Bri January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Jennifer if you start incurring costs (which I assume you have done if you have sought legal advice about this, which I hope you have!) then I would be more than happy to contribute to your funds. In my opinion (for what it is worth) you should set up a donation button via PayPal and have it on your blog here so those who want to can contribute to your legal fight. I was heavily involved in the Baptist church for 8 years (mid teens to early 20s) I could tell some tales that would horrify you. I am behind you all the way.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Thank you, Bri. I’m not needing assistance at this stage but if it proceeds to a writ that’s a different story. I appreciate your generosity so much.

      Like

      • Gruffbutt January 18, 2012 at 9:46 am #

        I’d like to help too, Jennifer.

        (But if I can money you without using Paypal, that’d be good. I know that is such a trivial concern on my part, but I thought I’d get in early. Oh, look, do as I ask or I’ll…oh, hang on, some of us don’t do that…)

        I also won’t ever be attending a certain gallery after reading a comment from one of your posters. There is some good building from this, maybe…

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 10:09 am #

          Gruffbutt, I don’t need money at the moment, not unless they actually serve a writ and it’s on, rather than just threats. If that happens,we can talk. Thank you, you are a good friend to Sheep

          Like

    • Rebecca S. Randall January 18, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      DON’T SET UP A PAYPAL BUTTON. Paypal tend to fuck people around with the donation button. Google the Regretsy scandal with the donation button to understand my freakout.

      That aside, like the others if you’ve started incurring legal costs because of Tanky’s litigation team, I would love to give you some money. Disgraceful that she’s making it monetary, even if you concede.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

        I don’t need money now, and will only if she carries out her threat to sue me. She must have plenty of money to do that, or else is being backed by someone. Or else is getting pro bon advice, and if she is, why ask me for money now to pay her costs if they don’t exist?

        Like

  11. Bubblecar January 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    It’s certainly an odd example of a defamation charge. Surely MTR realises that due to her own “moral crusade”, she already has little credibility amongst liberal-minded, secular types. Her admirers would mostly be religious people of the conservative right. How can being called a conservative Christian have the effect of lowering one’s esteem amongst other conservative Christians? If it’s merely a matter that Jennifer got the denomination wrong, how does that amount to “defamation”? MTR need simply have contacted Jennifer and pointed out the error, and I’m sure it would have been corrected. As for Jennifer’s appropriately scathing remarks about the irony of a conservative Christian moralist claiming to be a “feminist”, I’d imagine that anyone except conservative Christians (and other religionists) would be in full agreement. This was intellectual criticism, not “defamation” by any sane yardstick.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      I agree, Bubblecar, it’s a mystery.Have to wait and see how far it goes, though.

      Like

    • Ant Allan January 18, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      I had the same thought, Bubblecar. I’m not a lawyer but I did study (English) law towards a professional qualification in the insurance industry. YMMV.

      True or false, how does being (called) a Baptist defame MTR or identifiable in a manner that causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of them?

      Given the evidence in the public domain, such as the biography you cited in another post, this claim is in any case either true or a view that a reasonable person could have held, both of which are allowable defences.

      In either case, given MTR’s reticence to make a clear and honest statement about her religion, I think dishonesty is also a view that a reasonable person could have held. You might have more trouble with duplicity though, unless you can show MTR’s intent to deceive, which hinges on her actually being a Baptist, I think.

      This threat is mostly grandstanding. But if it comes to the crunch, I’ll chip in.

      /@

      Like

      • David B January 18, 2012 at 10:20 am #

        I tend to agree Ant.

        I think the ‘Baptist’ argument is a furphy (unless MTR thinks sooo little of Baptists?). I think the central argument here (and lawyers always try to run with as many as possible in case one doesn’t work) is the ‘deceitful and duplicitous’ claim. I watched the One on One interview, and I think that’s a very fair summation. MTR avoided answering the ‘source’ question, and then danced away from the enquiry about her religion and moral bases claiming “I want to be heard on the merits” – which perversely reminds me of Greta Garbo (I want to be..).

        Apart from the defamation, she then has to show that her reputation was ‘damaged’. And shouting “poor me, poor me” has done nothing but bring the whole argument further into the light! Well argued, and considering MTR’s very public face, I think you could show fair comment of a public personality, and no actual damages.

        I’ve also been reading some of MTR’s posts on her site and, well, let’s just say I have difficulty swallowing some of it.

        Even if she won, there have been cases where the plaintiff was only awarded $1.00 in damages, such was the hurt to their reputation!!

        Stay strong Jen.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

          Jill Singer came out in the Herald Sun today and totally confirmed my opinion. So will they sue Jill Singer and the Herald?

          Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

        You’re a friend, Ant Allan. Thank you

        Like

      • Ant Allan January 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

        I try to be!

        I can’t edit very well though: Strike “or identifiable” from the second sentence.

        /@

        Like

      • Ant Allan January 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

        Oh, and the more more people agree with you, here or elsewhere, the more evidence you have that the views you expressed are those that reasonable people can hold.

        Perhaps it’s time for an “I’m Spartacus” moment: I, Ant Allan, Ph.D., think it’s very likely that Melinda Tankard Reist is a Baptist (or holds religious beliefs that are sufficiently congruent with Baptists’ beliefs that that label is a reasonable and appropriate shorthand), that her religious beliefs prejudice her views on women’s rights, and that, in my opinion, by failing to acknowledge her religious affiliation (whatever it is), more specifically than simply professing to be a Christian, and thus how it colours her views on women’s rights, is at best misleading and at worst dishonest and duplicitous.

        /@

        PS. Yes, Ant Allan is my real name!

        Like

  12. AJ January 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    I worked with MTR at a Christian organisation. I know from experience that her opinions derive from her religious views – some of which are truly shocking in their conservatism. I couldn’t describe them as anything other than anti-feminist views. I can’t shed any light on the brand of christianity that she subscribes to – I presumed she was Catholic given her close association with Tony Abbott and the Catholic conservatives on both sides of politics, but she was very close with the Baptists in our workplace.

    I truly wish you all the best – the Age article on MTR seemed to studiously avoid her devisive religious views, which meant that it only told a fraction of the story. This oversight deserved to be highlighted.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I very much appreciate your good wishes – it’s a bit of a hard slog, this stuff!

      Like

  13. Christine Says Hi January 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    I have read the whole series of blog posts and all comments associated with this now, thanks to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which alerted me to your blog. I’ve enjoyed your writing and the many informative and entertaining comments so much, and have bookmarked it to come back often.

    I first heard about MTR’s alleged religious background and affiliations some years ago, in connection with her “pro life feminist” claim. I continue to filter all claims made by her in relation to everything through that information and think that public figures need to give everyone that same chance.

    I wonder why those who don’t, don’t? Perhaps they hope to reach a wider audience if the audience is unaware of that background. If you are a public figure who seeks to influence the thinking and committment of others on “moral” issues, it seems only fair to be open about what it is you personally believe …

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      This is the up side of all this – people liking the blog and wanting to stay around. Its just lovely to know it’s being enjoyed and appreciated. Thank you.

      What you said about filtering claims is exactly what I mean – everyone has the right to know they should do that.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 6:59 am #

        This is a comment from Sam Jandwich who’s been unable to post owing to internet issues where he is overseas. Thank you Sam, and I sort of wish you were here!

        It may have been an unknown piece of the internet a year ago, but Jennifer in my humble opinion I think you have created something quite significant with your blog, and the fact that it obviously resonates with so many commentators is I think quite a nice confirmation that you are really onto something. In light of the moribund state of Australian politics and public discussion of cultural issues, not to mention the invariably unsophisticated commentary made available by the msm, I get the sense that there is a real demand for thoughtful, personally-oriented analysis of the wider implications of current affairs in this country (that is to say speaking from the heart as opposed to the self-consciously high-brow pseudointellectualism of the Monthly et al). And it just so happens that you have gone a long way towards filling that gap – at least as far as any individual can.

        My advice would be, find out as much as you can about the legal system within which this suit from MTR has been made, because despite the cynicism surrounding the law (and despite the fact that I’m not a lawyer) I personally have often seen good decisions made and common sense prevail, and the best way to gain a bit of confidence about any possible outcomes is to look at what has gone before. Look at what happened in the case of “Angela” in Tasmania for example – despite enormous pressure a decision was reached to safeguard the interests of the most vulnerable of the people involved… at least until she is ready to do otherwise.

        And similarly, consider how insignificant and frankly outlandish MTR’s claims are. In the end who really cares what her religious affiliations are? Nobody with any common sense is going to listen to a word she says anyway. So perhaps you could write a blog post apologising to MTR for misrepresenting her, while at the same time debunking the notion that there is this great big man up in the sky directing proceedings. I’m pretty sure the Australian constitution would be on your side on this one.

        For what it’s worth I’m willing to go out on a limb to help you with whatever happens, and if worst comes to worst you can always come stay at my place for as long as you like!

        [and please feel free to edit this in any way you want to!!]

        Like

  14. Daniel Myles January 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Jennifer, trust me when I say this, funds will not be an issue for you. The online community has a big heart (and some big wallets :P) and is made up of alot of people who care about this issue seeing justice and defending free and honest speech. As someone pointed out previously, we have your back.

    Like

  15. Paul Ledingham January 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    I confess to only becoming aware of the MTR agenda in recent weeks and this mornings article in The Age (which has led me to this blog) has only reinforced my initial impression of the role she is playing in the moral hysteria that seems to be slowly sweeping this nation.
    As intimidating as the threat of legal action can be, I would urge you Jennifer, not to allow yourself to be bullied into silence in this instance.
    There seems to be many of the MTR ilk prepared to don the mantle for the vocal moral minority, which leads me to question when the silent liberal majority of this country will find their champion?
    I would suggest that we have collectively “had enough” of being preached at about our sexuality, our lifestyle and relationship choices, and how much damage we allegedly cause ourselves and our community in the process of simply living our lives. Particularly by those whose agendas are driven from a non-disclosed fundamentalist or extremist ideology.
    If the media run with this, I think you will find you have far more support out there that you could possibly imagine. You certainly have mine.

    Like

  16. Jonathon Troy January 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I get the feeling the situation could have been different if you had blogged anonomously. The fact she knows your name has made it easily for her to sue you (or threaten to sue you). Still good on you for standing up to her.

    Like

    • Gruffbutt January 18, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      I’m not an IT expert, JT, but I think that unless one is pretty computer-savvy &/or is served by the computer savvy, without relying on corporate Net providers and so on and so forth, anonymous bloggers don’t stay that way for long. Someone with a vested interest will find a chink in the armour somehow. Jennifer would have instant cred with many surfers for identifying herself from the start. And yes, good on her 🙂

      Like

  17. Moz January 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I often tell people not to sue for defamation – the upside is tiny compared to a costs order on the downside.. & when threatened with a concerns notice, settle it.. if you can live with the result, even if not happy with it.
    The costs are simply out of all proportion.
    That said, I can’t see anything sounding in damages for the “Baptist” imputation, even if made out and a multitude of defences fail? The “duplicitous” imputation might be carried but it seems there are defences to that… who knows how and what evidence will come out though..
    You need specific advice though about your current position. Posting more can add to the damages.

    Like

  18. Moz January 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    I often tell people not to sue for defamation – the upside is tiny compared to a costs order on the downside.. & when threatened with a concerns notice, settle it.. if you can live with the result, even if not happy with it.
    The costs are simply out of all proportion.
    That said, I can’t see anything sounding in damages for the “Baptist” imputation, even if made out and a multitude of defences fail? The “duplicitous” imputation might be carried but it seems there are defences to that… does the imputation set out in the concerns notice really say “opinion”?
    Who knows how and what evidence will come out though..
    You need specific advice though about your current position. Posting more can add to the damages.

    Like

  19. Sheeple Liberator January 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    I was so disappointed when I first heard the news of this. I’ve only read this blog for a few months but you stand out as someone who has the kahunas (pardon my french) to state an opinion and to back it up consistently. That said, I’d be careful what you say in relation to Tanky from now on. If things escalate, perhaps get some advice from a defamation lawyer. I know many will be willing to support you financially.

    Like

  20. Mine's A Newt January 18, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I’ve heard of MTR only through her legal threats against you. It’s clear from a little searching that she’s an exceptionally unpleasant person, a bully, a monomaniac, with no great commitment to making sure that what she says in public is true.

    I might suggest that you start collecting cache images of MTR’s many appearances as featured speaker at Belconnen and other Baptist churches. They may start disappearing.

    And Jennifer, I’ve heard of you only as because of MTR’s threats. And a bit of reading shows your blog is excellent, and you’re on my regularly checked blogs, now.

    I will contribute to your defence fund if needed. I think you should also be looking at getting this issue out widely, because I think Australians will want to help you stand up to this crappy attempt at bullying.

    (By the way, in your position, I’d not withdraw and apologise, or give MTR any money as demanded. There seems no need to knuckle under to this. It’s a bugger having to fight, but it’s the best thing to do when bad people come at you.)

    Like

    • Matthew January 18, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      In addition to the many speaking engagements she has done, there’s also a Marriage Manifesto, a document produced by “National Marriage Coalition”, signed by her in 2004 when she was a director of 2004 of Australian Women’s Forum. Other signatories included Bill Muehlenberg, Danny Nalliah (of Catch The Fire Ministries) and Jim Wallace (Australian Christian Lobby).

      Also of note is the amount of times people have tweeted the link to Mr Baxter’s dossier on her and she’s replied back to those who sent it; “It’s amazing what people will believe” or words to that effect. I don’t know if it would help in court, but perhaps her tweets suggesting that the contents of Baxter’s dossier was untrue would be possible evidence that the second claim from the lawyers letter has no merit.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

        Hi Matthew, I wondered where you were. This is a turn of events I hadn’t predicted!

        Like

    • Catie January 19, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      Jennifer,

      I’m a supporter of Melinda Tankard Reist. she is taking on issues that many, many women (and men) think are important in our society. I have been a teacher and youth worker for almost 25 years and see every day the impact of the hyper-sexual message that our kids are swimming in day and night. I have talked to 8 year olds who have seen sexual images of bestiality and group sex…. images that have left them, I think, with major psychological issues. Melinda is fighting a battle many of us agree with. This issue of her religious background is irrelevant. It is really, really sad and disturbing to read many of the comments on this blog which seem to almost suggest stalking Melinda and seeing if you can catch her praying or going to church! Horrors. As if that would prove something. Guess what, lots and lots of people go to church. People from all sides of politics. I don’t know Melinda personally but I believe she is entitled to contest labels that are wrong and inaccurate. My observation is that she is a robust person who tolerates a lot of nasty stuff thrown at her. Perhaps you should pick up the phone and talk to her. She believes your words are wrong. she is not a fundamentalist christian. Maybe you are wrong. Have you considered that option?

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 19, 2012 at 10:22 am #

        Ummmmm, Melinda has had countless opportunities to refute anything and everything I’ve said about her and her work, either to me or publicly. She has not once “picked up the phone” to do that. Instead she is threatening to sue me. Of course she is entitled to contest labels she feels are wrong, and I don’t know why she hasn’t done that. Legally threatening me is not “contesting labels.” Arguing her point fair and square in the public arena is. She has chosen not to do that.

        What is “really really sad and disturbing” to me is that someone like Melinda chooses legal threats to silence me and financially ruin me, rather than making any attempt to negotiate with me or correct anything she feels needs to be corrected.

        I suggest you pick up the phone to Melinda and ask her why she hasn’t done the Christian thing and sought to find peace with me before threatening to financially ruin me.
        What do you think Jesus would do?

        Like

      • David B January 19, 2012 at 10:28 am #

        What rot.
        1. I doubt very much that an image of group sex is going to leave “major psychological issues” in an 8 year old. At 8 I would have understood what it was, but it would have left no significant impact with me because I had no benchmark to factor it by. I’ll leave the analysis of the children in your care to yourself.
        2. MTR’s moral background is incredibly important. It informs the stance which she takes from start to finish, especially when she says “I follow the teachings of Jesus”. And given that MTR’s lawyers have made religion an issue, then a continued discussion is only relevant. (And where did “fundamentalist” come from? And for that matter, why would it even be relevant?)
        3. Venture into the public arena and you will have nasty stuff thrown at you. There will always be someone else who disagrees with your point no matter what it is (ironic comment intended) however this is Australia, and we believe in free speech.

        I do agree with some of MTR’s goals, but I think she goes overboard and sees sex and depravity in every shadow. And FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE.. that degree of reaction comes from allowing religion to control you, rather than the other way around.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman January 19, 2012 at 10:48 am #

        So, where have you read that group sex and sex with animals is promoted by Noplaceforsheep for eight year olds?

        Like

      • Anonymous January 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

        Catie, in all honesty unless you can prove your claims I doubt many people reading this are going to believe you. You come across as a blinkered fan of MTR the suebot, and very unwilling to look at things from an unbiased position. I find your claims of children viewing such material as nonsensical and hysteria designed to push buttons.

        No one on here is condoning stalking MTR the suebot. Stop trying to put words into other peoples mouths.

        Are you actually MTR or one of her lackeys?

        Like

      • Bri January 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

        Anonymous: I am not a MTR supporter and I disagree with most of what Catie says but having worked extensively in the community services and education sectors as a counsellor and social worker, you would be surprised how many pre-teen children have been exposed to pornography on a regular basis.

        Like

      • Anonymous January 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

        Bri I am aware of children being exposed to porn but “Catie” is using fear words to trigger emotions. She sounds like a lot of uber religious fundies with her tactics. Claiming kids have witnessed quite extreme and illegal pornography is quite a claim there, and as a counsellor I imagine she is legally obliged to report those things to the police. Not chit chat about it online. She’s using scare tactics. Same goes for claiming people here are inciting stalking ot MTR.

        Check the IP, I bet it traces back to a church.

        Like

      • Bri January 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

        Anon: Oh I agree with you! And yes, it should be reported to the appropriate authorities regardless of whether she is a mandated reporter or not (as a counsellor and social worker myself, I am not a mandated reporter. I think those professions should be mandated but they aren’t. (Not in my state anyway).

        Like

      • Hoffmann January 20, 2012 at 12:53 am #

        Catie,
        Please,seek help.
        The real kind.

        And if you have this mindset stay away from children and youth.You’ll just drive them to drugs, and people with real empathy will have to clean up your mess.
        If after 25 years you still cling to baseless fantasy, and exaggerate your personal phobias, then project them onto the vulnerable, you need more help than those you pretend to assist.

        Going to church is legal.

        Just as legal as stating a person goes to church.
        Now do you see how silly you and Reist sound?

        The law firm suing Jennifer should be outed by Choice magazine so no unfortunate punters end up wasting their hard earned cash, on a Joke Shop outfit.

        You’re not a supporter catie,your a groupie.Big difference.Do some research and see what that says about your true feelings for your mentor.

        When will the sub-species spawned by the influence of MTR machine write a meaningful article on the damages inflicted by religious guilt?

        Got a pen, catie?

        Like

  21. gerard oosterman January 18, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    If one wanted to chase people away from christian religion, baptist or otherwise, MTR’s threat of legal action against( ‘ no place for sheep)’someone holding an opinion contrary to hers, it could not be improved upon.
    The groundswell of support is growing and certainly includes Helvi’s and Gerard’s.

    Like

  22. John Samuel January 18, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Just decided to follow you, hope to read more good stuff from you in future.

    Like

  23. pandainabattlesuit January 18, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Full Support from Pandainabattlesuit.com
    I had never heard about this MTR – thing/human. Until reading your site. Thank you for educating me to another waste of oxygen, walking about our planet aimlessly.
    And please set up a donation button should you need fiscal support.

    Like

  24. Tallulah Brown January 18, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    So glad you exposed MTR. Until now I thought she was uptight feminist in the same way as Sheila Jeffreys, Gail Dines and Ariel Levy etc. I don’t necessarily agree with many of the views of these women. But I do you respect their motivations. I would not call her a feminist or even bother with any of her insights, as they are coming from a place that is the antithesis of female equality. Will give financial support for legal costs.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      Thank you. I’m guessing MTR has unlimited funds as def suits are pretty expensive from what I hear!

      Like

  25. Helvi January 18, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    What is it about strong women that so often attract harsh criticism, from weak men and envious women 🙂
    You have my support, some nasty online attackers have had me too in tears lately.
    All the best, Jennifer.

    PS. I always thought that all Christians were good kind people like my mum 🙂

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Don’t let them get to you, Helvi, you are a wonderful commenter and you always hit the point. Thank you for supporting me. I know you have on many other occasions as well. 🙂

      Like

    • Doug Quixote January 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Helvi. I’ll lay odds they are all piss and wind.

      However, as you may know I prefer to stay behind the pseudonym; less hassles that way.
      Unless you are already a public figure and hence a target, why make it easy for the trolls?

      Like

  26. Egor January 18, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    First, I would like to thank MTR and her silly lawsuit for pointing me to this brilliant blog through Sydney Morning Herald article.
    Second, there are many people ready to support you financially to stand the case. I’m one of them.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      Welcome to the blog. And many thanks for your generous offer an I really hope it won’t come to that.

      Like

  27. geoff lemon January 18, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Legal threats are much easier to make than actual legal action is to take. And frankly they wouldn’t have a hope in hell of making a defamation suit stick on the grounds you’ve mentioned. They know that as well as anyone else.

    It’s just a tactic. Bluffing works a lot of the time, so they’ll give it a crack. If they are foolish enough to try and litigate, I don’t doubt you’ll get financial support from a wide range of people. I’d happily chip in.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      It’s a bluff but it could still be an expensive one. Actually it’s a scam.

      Like

  28. JT January 18, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Hold the line, Jennifer. If you back down the bottom-feeding lawyers that MTR has engaged will hound you all the way to bankruptcy.

    I was sued for defamation a few years ago and due to pressure from my co-defendents I backed down and printed an immediate retraction. The bill from their lawyers for a couple of threatening letters came to around $20k, which would have put my family in the poor-house if not for the support of a number of close friends.

    Amazing how people who think they hold the moral high ground resort to such cheap tactics as threatening to sue rather than engaging in open debate…

    Like

  29. Graham Shevlin January 18, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    It might be time to summon The Streisand Effect…

    Like

  30. Vicky Chapman (@Yowie9644) January 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m another who came to this blog because of the MTR thing. But will be staying because its a darn good read.

    May you have the strength & fortitude to stand up to this tactic. Given that all sorts of things could arise in a court case that will then be on the public record *forever*, it is a dangerous game that she plays. Remember that.

    Like

  31. Unnamed academic January 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    I am very sorry to hear that you have been subjected to this.

    One thing that you wrote stood out for me. You said “If I do not retract both these statements, apologise in a format MTR’s lawyer determines is sufficient for her needs, and pay for all her legal costs (even though there has been no writ served and the matter has not got anywhere near court, still they are demanding I pay the costs she has incurred to date) I will be faced with financial ruin as I defend a defamation suit.”

    I teach legal ethics in another state. I can’t give you legal advice, but you might be interested in seeking advice from a community legal service (usually free) and taking the information below with you. If I were you, I would seek advice not only about MTR but also about the appropriate methods for making complaints about lawyers in the ACT. (This is not legal advice for your particular situation, but might be interesting for you to read and for Colqhoun Murphy to read if they are monitoring this blog!)

    Generally there is no legal liability to pay the legal costs of a person unless and until a court orders you to pay the costs.

    The ACT solicitor’s ethics rule, the Legal Profession (Solicitors) Rule 2007, states:
    “31. Communications
    31.1 A practitioner must not, in any communication with another person on behalf of a client:
    (a) represent to that person that anything is true which the practitioner knows, or reasonably believes, is untrue; or
    (b) make any statement that is calculated to mislead or intimidate the other person, and which grossly exceeds the legitimate assertion of the rights or entitlement of the practitioner’s client;”

    The Queensland Law Society gives its members the following advice about claims for costs and a very similar rule:
    “If there is no legal liability to pay legal costs or interest then this is likely to be contrary to s.28 of the Solicitors Rule 2007 in that you will be representing to the addressee of the letter that something is true which you know or reasonably believe is untrue (contrary to s 28.1), or you will be making a statement that is calculated to mislead the addressee, and which grossly exceeds the legitimate assertion of the rights or entitlement of your client (contrary to s 28.2).”

    Steisand indeed. MTR and her lawyers both should be aware of this meme.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      Oh, this is really interesting. The situation is kind of catch 22 – if I apologized I would be admitting liability which means they want me to think they can make me pay her legal costs, and still sue me for defamation as she reserves the right to do that. At the same time they try to persuade me to that apologize would avoid the expense of litigation.

      Like

  32. Richard January 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    I have discovered (via furious purpse) both you and MTR thanks to the latter’s cowardly threats.
    Your blog I like. Her opinions I **** ***** because **** and she makes me ****.
    My only hope is that her legal cronies don’t find a way of censoring this comment!
    The ball is still in her court. Hopfully she will realise how foolish she’ll look if she goes ahead with this.
    Good luck.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks Richard. I appreciate your comment and how careful you were with it!

      Like

  33. Kathy Newnam January 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    You are doing great work. Thank-you!

    Like

  34. larks January 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi, I am so sorry you have been subjected to this rubbish and I am so so glad that you have had the courage to bring this into the open.

    Definitely seek free legal advice from any community legal service, or any newspaper in your area could point you towards qualified and experienced defamation lawyers. Most legal letters are just puff designed to intimidate people into stopping some activity, they are NOT a legally binding document.

    If you want to set up a community defence fund to raise funds for legal costs etc, I would happily contribute and I am sure many others would also.

    I do not believe that MTR has a case for defamation as I understand the law on defamation. Here is the link to a website which provides legal advice for journalists:

    http://www.thenewsmanual.net/Resources/medialaw_in_australia_02.html

    two things:

    1. MTR would have to prove that the information you have published is somehow defamatory eg. would cause people to shun or avoid her. I think it would be very interesting to see someone try to prove that being called a Baptist would cause people to shun them.

    2. There are a number of defences to defamation law which you could use successfully – the most obvious one being that you are engaged in political debate, and you honestly believed or can prove that MTR is a baptist.

    As I said, don’t take my word for it, and again, if you would like to take up some sort of community defence fund collection I will happily donate AND promote the cause.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Thank you for the information and support. I am really hoping things won’t go that far, but I don’t know. It is so unnecessary, if MTR felt I had wronged her she would have been very welcome to put up a post here saying that. Why she resorted to treats and trying to get money from me I don’t know.

      Like

      • larks January 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

        Well i can’t claim to know MTR but there are some people in the world who think that using patriarchal systems of power designed to protect the privileged to silence other women is perfectly A-OK. She may claim to be a feminist but we are certainly learning that she is not!!

        Like

  35. paul walter January 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Three points.
    A contrating more ethical stance on this from Dr. Abigail Bray, quietly and economically put..Dr. Bray’s position has been interpreted as being identical to Tankard Reist’s, for which she’s been forthrightly “canned” by some in emphatic terms.
    But her post suggests that there may be a more organised and flexible mind involved, offering future hope for a more meaningful and dignified exchange.
    Secondly, Unnamed Academic, a person trained in legal matters, makes a critical point in suggesting that MTR’s ambulance chasers be referred to the parent body for that profession for consideration, as to ethical breaches.
    Finally Cate, won’t be a popular post, but there is a point- little can be acheived if we allow rancour to steal in, or it will become a race to the bottom, which cant help our side of the debate. Our robust approach has indeed revealed an ethical flaw in one of our opponents, counter- tactical to MTR’s refusal of discourse, but our cause will benefit exponentially if we allow the conversation to ease back to a more considered pace, from this point.
    Dr Jennifer Wilson, you are rightly angered- but reactivity is what they seek, you can’t think as clearly when you’re mad as heck and this is holding back the “discovery” process that Dr.Bray appears also to be aware of, as to a comprehensive unpacking of the issues, from different perspectives…please see past the delaying tactic and hold to your purpose,

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Thank you PW I will. And Abigail is marvellous is she not?

      Like

      • Matthew January 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

        Considering what Catherine Manning wrote in her comments in a couple of your previous posts (assuming that it’s true), and considering what Dr Bray wrote in her comments above, I’m wondering if future reprints of “Big Porn Inc” will have Dr Bray’s name and contributions removed.

        Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      Thank you PW I will. And Abigail is marvellous, is she not?

      Like

    • Ray January 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Abigail Bray’s comment is significant. It always seemed odd to me that Abigail was associated with MTR. Perhaps now she understands that MTR’s feminism is very shallow.

      Like

  36. paul walter January 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    A thought has crossed my mind, on my rounds about the blogs. Some of your previous opponents have, perhaps understandably, sidestepped the issue.
    But I find the conspicious absence of coverage over this at On Line Opinion thus far, a site you befriended and advocated passionately for in defence of their right to free speech,
    unforgiveable.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Yes. It is a little sad. I don’t know what that’s about do you?

      Like

      • Lee-Ane Raymond January 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

        Dear Jennifer,
        You may not have seen it you have many friends and many good people to reply to. Demetrios left you a comment regarding our own defamation persecution on your “MTC threatens sheep with legal action…” post. We are being financially hammered and we do not have the great feedback you have which might make it at least tolerable. If our experience can help you in anyway happy to give you full disclosure. It isn’t pretty basically but in our view truth, the right to inform and the idea of freedom of speech (though Australians have no legislated right to it) are important to defend. An apology in our case would be a lie and the rich crazy we are dealing with would only slap on costs and damages and damn it we can prove truth. The rich crazy however is doing everything to delay, elongate process and prevent it getting to court, to wait us out in the hope we will lose motivation or run out of money. The flaws with the legal system in the area of defamation deserve to be exposed in addition – in this section of the law you are considered guilty regardless of outcome – which makes about as much sense as it sounds.

        Think of defamation law threats as a rich crazy person’s ticket to threaten and bully any opponent for any perceived transgression and get them to back down, why? Because it usually works really well, it is scary and intended to be so. People get scared by the big dollars and sometimes it is impossible for them to do anything other than back down and apologise/retract. Right or wrong for this tactic to be legal means the system does more to harm freedoms and rights than protect them. The so called ‘defamed’ person has every right to their ‘true’ fame no more no less. The so called ‘defamed’ we hear about such as in your case are rich crazy people can acquire legal representatives who care less about the truth and the law or how the law is manipulated in defamation cases and assist them because they get paid and made wealthy out of it regardless. In financial terms it is the case the lawyers win regardless.

        They and the rich crazy ones don’t have to think about whether they will lose their house or hold on long enough to counter sue. Ultimately if you can hang in there and take it to court which is actually what the rich crazy ones do not want you achieve you do have every chance the legal system will actually see the action for what it is and make an appropriate ruling. Ultimately it will be your decision and I wish you well. Google ‘defamation law australia’ (australia follows english law closely so of course it is a mess).

        best,
        Lee-Anne

        Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 19, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      PW I didn’t know this till yesterday, but MTR refused to write for OLO anymore because G. Young was publishing me. He made a choice, and kept publishing me.

      Like

    • Hoffmann January 20, 2012 at 12:28 am #

      Oh no I’m defaming the ABC.

      My take?

      The editorial staff,moderators and the editors are totally suspect.
      All people regularly posting there have experience in dodgy Moderation,disappearing posts etc.

      Come on Aunty prove me wrong.Run an online poll( LOL)

      Better still publish a list of your staff and their connections to Reist and her other pseudo-feminist Christian underlings.I dare you.And a copy of the visitors book would be good too.Or do your ‘special’ guests slip in the back door.
      pun intended.
      _________________________________
      Sing along with me chilin’:

      “Jesus Reist, Super Star, do you think you’re who they say you are…..?”

      Where’s the Chaser, anyway?
      Or hamster, even?

      Like

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) January 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      paul walter’s observation as to OnLineOpinion’s seeming absence of support for Jennifer Wilson in the present circumstances betrays some misunderstanding as to how that site operates. As a fairly regular poster on OLO, I will try to explain things.

      OLO publishes articles, upon which registered users are free to comment within the word and posting limits of the site. Both Jennifer Wilson ( http://bit.ly/zzcS1R ) and Melinda Tankard Reist ( http://bit.ly/zGnetd ) regularly have had articles published on OLO.

      It is also possible for registered OLO users to submit topics, within the format of a maximum 350-word ‘new discussion’ post to the General Discussions area of the Forum. Paul Walter, for example, could submit one, giving it the title of his choice. Posting limits are more generous in this area of the OLO Forum, up to eight posts in 24 hours being permitted, compared to up to only four in the articles area.

      Until I sent Graham Young ( @GrahamY ) a DM at 1737 on Wednesday 18 January, with a link to this post of paul walter’s, he knew absolutely nothing as to the existence of this issue. It seems this issue has been largely a Twitter phenomenon, and that the OLO user base seems less oriented around Twitter as a soure of information. I quote, with GrahamY’s permission,: “So what exactly do they expect me to do? I don’t even know what the matter is about?”

      This situation contrasts with the one to which paul walter refers, where Jennifer Wilson “befriended and … fought [so] passionately for [OLO]”, where Graham Young published an article himself ( http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11583 ) because he was the one initially in possession of most of the relevant facts (As is Jennifer Wilson with respect to this one on NoPlaceforSheep). OLO users, including Jennifer Wilson, responded in the comments thread ( http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=11583 ).

      The irony of it all is, that OLO was being attacked by a relatively small number of persons who wanted an article written by Bill Muehlenberg opposing gay marriage, and some comments thereto, taken down from the OLO site. OLO refused to take the article and comments down, and its revenue shortly came under attack. Jennifer Wilson was thus effectively a vigorous ally in supporting Bill Muehlenberg’s freedom to be heard. It is my understanding, if I can safely say this without attracting a lawsuit, that Bill Muehlenberg is a Baptist preacher, although I must admit to never having read his article in question.

      Where does MTR stand in relation to Bill Muehlenberg, I wonder?

      In conclusion, FWIW, here is the only thing I have ever written about Melinda Tankard Reist, anywhere, on an OLO ‘fun’ thread: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=4109#102384 . A line from poster ‘Hawkpeter’ on another NPFS thread, “The good thing is that where ever and when ever a MTR pops up, so does a Jennifer Wilson” , called it to mind.

      Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

        We had an email chat, Forrest, and sorted it out. Graham told me that when I started writing for OLO Tankard Reist refused to write for them anymore. So Graham did a pretty big thing, continuing to publish me.

        Yes, I admit it. I fought for Bill Muehlenberg’s right to speak. I may burn in hell for that. My fight was actually for OLO’s charter – everyone has a voice there.

        Like

      • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

        Now, there’s an organisation Muehlenberg founded that MTR was affiliated with. I’ll find out which one.

        Like

  37. Mim Adamson January 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I find it hard to believe that calling someone a follower of Catholic, Buddhist, Baptist, Anglican, Calathumpian or any other known/unknown religion is a libelous act or behaviour that is derogatory.

    The advice about checking up on the legal firm that wrote the letter is worth following up too I think –
    courts don’t like to cluttered up with ‘mischievious’ matters.
    Mim

    Like

  38. Ray January 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Just thought I add that one of the pieces of info that has come to light is that the Belconnen Baptist Church has said that MTR isn’t listed as one of their parishioners. I always thought the Baptist link was doubtful given MTR’s association with Harradine, a Catholic.

    Like

    • Bri January 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Ray, that Belconnen Baptist doesn’t list her as a ‘parishioner’ (a term I never heard during my involvement with the Baptist church) doesn’t mean she didnt attend the church. They could be saying she wasn’t/isn’t a member of the church (i.e. has voting rights at the church meetings). An individual can still be very active within a particular Baptist church without being an actual member.

      Like

      • Cate January 19, 2012 at 9:36 am #

        It is disturbing that you are discussing whether she is OR is not member of any church. What business is it of yours? What difference does it make if she attends a Baptist church, or a Buddhist temple or looks at tea leaves? This discussion on this blog proves that opponents of Melinda Tankard Reist are somehow trying to undermine her credibility because she may or may not have religious beliefs. Last time I looked, going to church on Sunday was legal in Australia. There are hundreds of politicians in our parliament who attend a church. How about addressing the issues the Melinda writes about rather than stalking where/if she goes to a church.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson January 19, 2012 at 10:25 am #

          Christians are political. MTR is political. You are distorting my argument. I have never said there is anything wrong with being Christian. What I say is that a public figure who wishes to influence legislation and the way we live our lives must disclose their religious affiliations.

          Like

  39. fionn maccumhail January 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    I don’t know how libel law works in Australia but if it is anything like British law, I’d get a lawyer ASAP. Here in the States, if you can prove your statements true, you can usually win the lawsuit.

    I think what you and the readers of this blog could do would be to collect as much information as you can about this woman and find out where she is coming from and what she has done that makes her so defensive.

    Like

  40. paul walter January 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Mim Adamson..that’s it!!

    Like

  41. Flaubert January 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Just wanted to add my support…it’s been a fascinating past few days and, If I may, I’ll reiterate a portion of the Tibetan proverb I posted a while back:

    “….Whoever shows you greatest kindness and comfort, they are your family.”

    It seems from the overwhelming support you’ve garnered lately that you have a very big “family” indeed.

    Like

  42. gerard oosterman January 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    And from The New Matilda a point of view from a formidable feminist Eva Cox:

    http://newmatilda.com/2012/01/18/call-me-whatever

    Like

    • Ray January 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      Disappointing from Eva Cox. MTR’s brand of feminism is almost indistinguishable from the religious right: pro-life, pro- traditional family (and therefore anti-gay marriage) and pro-censorship. Which is why she gets invited to so many religious right events. Hmmm, a feminist who is the darling of the traditional enemy of women’s rights. She says she’s an advocate for women and girls. Indeed. An advocate for a very conservative vision of women and girls, a vision that happens to be very compatible with the religious right’s vision.

      Actually her personal beliefs don’t matter. It’s the company she keeps.

      Like

  43. Susan Bennett January 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    You know, I don’t know much about defamation but in other sorts of civil cases, the judge/magistrate will ask what efforts the parties undertook to settle the matter before going to court. Your point about Tankard Reist making no effort to ‘correct’ you or in any other way enter into discussion prior to taking legal action just may well go against her. If the information is untrue, what effort did she undertake to bring that to your attention? Given that the media has the opportunity to print retractions/apologies when presented when corrections, I’d find it difficult to understand why your case would be any different.

    Like

  44. gerard oosterman January 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    And this from a not so formidable feminist;

    http://oosterman.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/in-the-name-of-the-father-and-the-holy-dollar/

    Like

  45. Julia. January 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Jennifer…I began following your blogs before the subject of porn arose. Thoroughly enjoy your writing style, the manner in which you give fresh insights & question conventional “wisdoms” on a range of topics, and the way you come across as a warm, caring, empathic, intelligent etc person. So refreshing to come across in this age with so many sheep with $$$ signs in their eyes simply follow the herd.
    Don’t let the MTR’s of this world destroy this.
    If she is unable to answer her critics rationally then, in my opinion, she can pack up her bongos & disappear back into the anonimity she came from. Nothing you have written had any influence on my opinion of her, formed ages before I discovered “No Place For Sheep” from things that came from MTR’s own mouth. Further, long before she emerged out of obscurity, I’ve known heard read quite a few one-eyed moralistic do-gooders and have yet to find one with anything of value to offer…Some turn out to be very dangerous…over six million murdered Jews as well as disabled people, Gypsies & homesexuals are proof of this. Most, however, only serve as entertainment for small flocks of unthinking gullible sheep that no one takes any notice of. Each has a habit of jumping up & down, screaming about being “persecuted” & “they’re out to get me” at the merest hint of their “Truths” being questioned…ensuring any other point of view is silenced beneath a barrage of smoke & mirror threats.
    Have you noticed the porn debate has virtually vanished beneath the MTR vs Jennifer controversy?

    Yes, I know you don’t need money as yet…let’s hope MTR has had enough free publicity and things don’t come to that..but if it does…I too shall willingly contribute.

    Like

  46. charliefoxtrot07 January 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Ms Streisand sent me here.

    Just want to offer my moral support. I think you are definitely on the high ground here.

    Obviously I’m new here, so I’m not sure if you track the Skeptical community news, but this is all seems very reminisant of last years efforts by ‘SensaSlim’ (purveyors of nasal weight loss snake oil) in suing Dr Ken Harvey in order to silence his complaints to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. A SLAPP suit to prevent uncomfortable scrutiny of their operation.

    The community banded together and sorted out the money problem, and SensaSlim was exposed. A positive and encouraging result.
    http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/news/harvey-all-expenses-paid/

    All the best, and it is heartwarming to see your community already gathering around you, and attracting others.

    Like

  47. Hoffmann January 20, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    “Not once has she debated, denied, argued, or contested the points I’ve made about her, and about the position from which she speaks.”

    Bullshit.
    She’s done it hundreds of times on ABC blogs and probably elsewhere under the cowardly cover of a gutless pseudonym/s.
    A hacker could easily prove.Just a link to the origin server of the email address of the posts attacking your articles and she is toast.
    Mwwwooohahahaha.

    Like

  48. Hoffmann January 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    For those with info/tips/advice on legal precedents, tactics etc,(I doubt they will ever be needed by Jennifer.)

    We need to get the free speech wagon rolling fwd, but need to be as clever as the ***ts are sleazy.

    Like

  49. tehniroz January 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Demanding you pay legal costs without delivering a writ and threatening to sue you for defamation if you don’t looks a lot like extortion to me. Have you run all this past a solicitor or someone of the like to see if this is legit?

    Like

  50. Genufa January 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    JW I think you’re being more than a little disingenuous. You didn’t just accidentally say MTR is a Baptist. You implied all sorts of baggage along with that claim. If I took your words at face value, I would have typecast MTR as a reactionary fundamentalist Christian. Fortunately, I have followed her on various platforms and forums and don’t find her position on porn all that different from mine – and I am an atheist. As for “imbalance of power” – MTR comments in the face of the porn industry with all its financial clout. I would think she would not be commanding the ear of the public if she hadn’t earned it.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson January 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      I’ve said in many places that there’s some things I agree with her on. Her anti abortion stance is of great concern.

      I never claimed to have “accidently” said she was a Baptist. I said it deliberately because I had every reason to believe it

      Like

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  52. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Several days ago I tweeted this:

    I had tweeted it in response to the news that Senator Abetz, as Minister responsible for the Australian Public Service, had welcomed the (effectively forced) resignation of Daryl Adams (@FlyOpineMonkey) from his job with the ATO following a prolonged period of suspension from duty. Daryl had previously operated the parody Twitter account ‘@FakePaulKeating’, on which he had tweeted critically with respect to MTR on 18 January 2012 during the ‘#MTRsues’ tweetstorm.

    Yesterday I received a DM from Noel Towell, a Canberra Times journalist, who tweets as ‘@noeltowell’ (a verified Twitter account), inviting me to discuss my legal situation, one seemingly in relation to something I had said in that tweet, I had to infer. Understandably, he did not wish to have such a discussion in a public forum, and included a contact telephone number in his DM. I was unable to respond to his DM, for, as you know, my outgoing DMs don’t work on this account. I advised him of this:

    I had assumed Noel Towell had meant Daryl Adams (@FlyOpineMonkey) as ‘having a legal position’ in this matter, as Adams, in hindsight could be seen as having been a victim of what may have been an essentially private vendetta pursued with the co-option of improper assistance of public officials at public expense. Senator Abetz, while in opposition, had named Adams in Parliament under privilege, which naming seemed to precipitate further disciplinary action by the employing agency, the ATO, against Adams more to MTR’s satisfaction. Adams eventually lost his job. Adams’ offending tweet was made in a private capacity, and his parody account was not obviously that of a public servant. He had not, at the time of tweeting, to my knowledge been ‘outed’. Any remedy at law justifiable should have been sought privately by MTR.

    However.

    As you can see from the Twitter conversation, Noel Towell sees you, Jennifer, as having a legal position in some way arising out of my first embedded tweet in this post. The post Towell refers to in the second embedded Twitter conversation was presumably the one by you to the comments thread of this very discussion, to which I had linked in my tweet. This one, on January 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm: https://noplaceforsheep.com/2012/01/17/some-thoughts-on-being-threatened-with-defamation-by-melinda-tankard-reist/#comment-10738

    The revelation that MTR had sought to coerce OnLineOpinion into not publishing YOU long before your response to the Rachel Hills article of 8 January 2012 says to me that the real reason behind both the defamation threats against you and the pursuit of Adams’ employment was the implementation of censorship of political views not favoured by MTR, rather than the seeking of any justified and proportionate remedy at law for claimed ‘damage’.

    All of which, in the context of MTR’s 12 years of experience around the traps of Parliament as a staffer to former Senator Harradine, calls into question whether Adams’ pseudonymity was unmasked in a due process of law instituted by MTR, or was an unmasking able to be effected by covert governmental surveillance capabilities perverted to the pursuit of an essentially private and political vendetta. In other words, was Adams FIRST identified as a public servant (whose employment was therefore considered vulnerable) with the aid of government surveillance, to SUBSEQUENTLY become the subject of a private complaint?

    The prospect of the unjustified use of government surveillance capabilities in the service of attempts at the suppression of the expression of political opinion is very topical at present in the case of Michaela Banerjee (@LaLegale), who also lost her job at the former DIAC (now DIBP). In her case it seems her pseudonymity was unmasked with the aid of Radian6 technology, whereby the locations from which she tweeted on her own mobile devices in her own time may have been used to infer that the tweeter was an employee of DIAC. Acting on these inferences DIAC terminated her employment, asserting in the process that ‘on the basis of probabilities’ Michaela Banerjee was ‘@LaLegale’. In other words, they had insufficient proof but they sacked her anyway. There was no suggestion that any of @LaLegale’s tweets were offensive, just that they were deemed (probably by some software algorithm) politically critical.

    To defend her employment Michaela Banerjee had to resort to injunctive process. Prior to her dismissal she initially had maintained that she could not be identified with the Twitter account ‘@LaLegale’, as she had every expectation of being entitled to: such is the whole point of pseudonymity if one is not otherwise breaking the law, which she wasn’t. So learning that she would have to resort to injunctive process to defend her employment, Michaela Banerjee, being a lawyer and probably seeing wisdom in avoiding the slightest appearance of perjury or deception of the Court, OUTED HERSELF!

    Not a word of this ‘outing’ leaked to, or was picked up by, the media until the Federal Court announced its denial of the injunctive relief sought, to wit, Michaela Banerjee’s reinstatement. Upon that announcement the decision was reported in the Canberra Times. Early in that news item were the words “Ms Banerjee initially denied that the account was hers …”, thereby creating, in the absence of any report as to DIAC having proceeded to a dismissal without sufficient legitimately obtained proof, the impression that Michaela Banerjee was deceitful, when in fact anything but was the case.

    I have no idea as to whether Noel Towell has any information that may be to your advantage with respect to the ‘#MTRsues’ wash-up, or why he may see you as having any case to pursue at law, as his initial tweet directed to me seemed to imply was the case. It is Daryl Adams who appears to me the biggest victim of disproportionate retribution in the light of what we now know. I cannot help but observe, in the light of subsequent events, what I remember from that 8 January 2012 Rachel Hills article: that it was headlined ‘Who’s Afraid of MTR?’. Overtones of intimidation, or what?

    PS Jennifer, I intend posting the phone number given subsequently to this blog thread, but at a time when you are effectively ‘in attendance’ so that you can record it, then take that isolated post down to minimize any breach to Noel Towell’s privacy, given that I can’t DM it. I assume its a work number, but it may not be.

    Like

    • hudsongodfrey February 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Forrest. Why not check out jennifer’s gravatar profile, in case there is a better less public way to contact her.

      Like

      • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

        HG,

        I have Noel Towell’s agreement to pass his phone number on to Jennifer.

        There is nothing in what I have posted so far that ought not be public, especially in the light of actions taken against public servants, tweeting in a private capacity without outward indication that they are in fact public servants, that threatens their employment.

        I prefer to protect my own pseudonymity to the greatest extent possible. The use of email to pass information on may increase the chances of some malicious hacker getting to infer my real identity. Also, what Jennifer doesn’t get told or come into the possession of, like an email address, she cannot be compelled or coerced to yield up to any third party. She has already been subjected to a form of coercion (which has fortunately expired), and it is not beyond imagining that a third party, one in reality perhaps seeking MY identity, might be able to construct something that may look like a legal demand upon Jennifer for document discovery under existing or future litigation to which she may become a respondent.

        I have absolutely no concerns as to Jennifer maintaining confidentiality as to sources on her own account.

        Like

        • hudsongodfrey February 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

          Sure Forrest you seem like a bright guy who could figure out how to set up a pseudonymous Gmail or Hotmail (Now Windows Live) mail account for yourself.

          Like

          • paul walter February 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

            Not over the esoterica, will have to read again, but I grasp the sense of some stench, a very scabby country this is becoming.

            What better exemplar than Abetz.

            I hope it is not true what I read, that some have attempted to stifle debate again, this is a lazy, coward’s way out, fit for only for someone bereft of a strong argument to back specious and nebulous claims.

            Still, in a country where the government and its allies have elevated lies and thuggery to the status of a virtue, what more would you expect?

            The refusal of OLP to countenance it deserves commendation, if the example included is the case.

            Like

  53. Seeker of justice February 5, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m very sorry you are having to endure this. I can speak from experience because it happened to a loved one. It is financially crippling to an “ordinary” person. Ironically, as you point out, such potential plaintiffs would likely only sue another they knew had some financial means. There is no point in suing someone on welfare living in government housing, is there?

    Again, speaking from experience, I suggest you resolve this quickly with robust negotiation. But I would not offer to pay legal costs. That is outrageous at this stage. Most litigants have to absorb some financial loss. You ought to really get some legal advice to get it right. Yes, it will cost, but chalk it up to experience. And to save you from losing a vast chunk of what you hold precious – your life and assets.

    On the other hand, those who have suffered tremendous loss and damage (other than to reputation) cannot get justice … it’s a deranged system, otherwise known as “rolls royce”. Only those with excessive means to pay can afford to use it.

    Like

    • Seeker of justice February 5, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

      After having read more comments: sure, this journalist/writer may well be bluffing. Personally, I’ve never heard of her, know nothing about her except what I’ve read here.

      But people who have deep pockets can afford to file suits to make a point. I’m not sure if this applies to this writer. In the case of my loved one, the plaintiff had sued before and thus had experience (and additional funds).

      Defamation suits are really expensive because it’s not an exact science and is a 2-tiered system. Proceedings in Supreme Courts drag out, as opposed to the Federal Court.

      Even if you can successfully defend this action, you will most likely lose a great deal of your assets and perhaps your sanity and/or relationships along the way. With respect, those who are encouraging you to stand on your dig are giving you misinformed advice – assuming you lack the resources to take this all the way.

      My loved one had young children at the time. The loved one almost lost the family home, marriage and sanity. Did it matter to the lawyers that the lives of young children were at stake? No; the profession is brutal.

      My loved one regrets fighting on and wishes that the matter had been settled earlier. It took years to recover emotionally. Obviously, the money paid to lawyers and to the plaintiff can never be recovered.

      My loved one had very high representation (a QC) so it’s not like it was a case of inexperienced representation.

      Please think carefully and don’t make decisions on what and/or who is right and wrong. The legal system does not operate that way. It’s a game and has been described as such at the highest level of the profession.

      Like

      • doug quixote February 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

        Very stale news : look at the date of the article.

        To Jennifer : Please consider shutting off comment to articles older than one year.

        Surely the bots can be filtered out?

        Like

        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

          Scroll up. Wake up. Shut up.

          One of the advantageous aspects of the ‘Sheep’ blog is that new developments that may bear upon ‘old news’ are able to be placed in context. Such can be helpful in developing the ‘bigger picture’. Shutting off comment to old articles is not the way to go if a truly informed readership is the objective.

          If you look up, you will see that that is what is going on in this old thread at this moment.

          Yes, there are bots operating in the blogosphere. Perception of their very presence should of itself constitute an alert to the fact that something else may be going on than that which may be interpreted as being a bot post may imply.

          Stunning tunnel vision for a regular poster.

          Like

          • paul walter February 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

            Yes, who are these idiots who put junk up in old threads.
            I would think of seeing a shrink, if I were such an imbecilic individual.

            Like

            • Seeker of justice February 5, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

              And here I was thinking this was an intelligent blog. No, it’s just for imbeciles who think they – and their unlearned opinions – are more important than they actually are. Sorry I intruded upon your playground kids.

              Or is it just that you have no clue about the law and like to be free to dish out advice without being challenged?

              Actually, if I were so nasty, enraged and stupid, I’d consult a doctor, and requesting sanctioning. It must be a sad life to get your kicks from the online world, bully others anonymously and live in the delusion that you’re actually intelligent.

              I see that some inane comments are allowed. Just not the intelligent ones which challenge the deluded fools, who view themselves as guardian of this blog.

              It’s no loss … I was just trying to help the blog owner.

              Like

              • hudsongodfrey February 6, 2014 at 1:29 am #

                Thanks for your time and efforts it isn’t as if you’re being opposed at anything like the level that some of us have been trolled in the past, but you’re well intended and that’s good.

                It isn’t supposed to be a place for sheep…. What more can I say to explain that vigorous debate is no less bruising when done for the right reasons.

                Apart from that steer clear if you can of calling people’s opinions unlearned it comes of as haughty and superior, not in a good way. If the words you were looking for to describe others had anything to do with pretentious delusions there for the grace of the flying spaghetti monster go I. But then humility was never a virtue one could demand of others without being more than a little likely to be shown a mirror.

                Like

              • paul walter February 6, 2014 at 10:42 am #

                So J.. I think you have it wrong. We are thinking of another problem tha t has dogged the site.

                Like

              • doug quixote February 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

                I don’t think your contribution was either novel or helpful.

                Jennifer has had excellent advice, not that she needed it;

                Tankard Reist took our advice that she had no genuine prospect of success. 🙂

                Like

            • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 6, 2014 at 11:56 am #

              Some of them may well be online entities developed under US government ‘persona management’ programs, of the like of which Assange and WikiLeaks have exposed. These entities are created and managed for the purpose of disrupting, or otherwise influencing, blog interactions throughout the blogosphere. There is no reason to presume such programs are confined to the US government.

              Private internet interest groups, be they formal or informal, can likewise engage in what amounts to a sort of tag team trolling. The objective is probably to make blog threads look like rubbish, so that those with genuine interest or inquiring minds will be deterred from interacting on blogs.

              Some times rubbish posts are put up to drive records of recent genuinely relevant blog comments off the ‘Recent Comments’ displays in order to reduce their exposure to the blog’s readership. There was some suggestion as to that having happened recently in relation to an update to another old discussion thread:

              You can see what Jennifer’s reaction was to that suggestion.

              Like

              • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

                Giving the credit where it is due in respect of the revelation of the existence and purpose of ‘persona management’ software to Barrett Brown is this tweet and its link:

                Courtesy of its having been retweeted by @AnnieOdyne

                Like

          • doug quixote February 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

            I was not addressing you, Forrest.

            Please try not to overreact.

            Personally, I’d be inclined to cut off any post where no comment has been made for 14 days. You obviously disagree, but its a matter for Jennifer.

            Best of luck sorting out your difficulties.

            Like

  54. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumppXVI) February 6, 2014 at 7:33 am #

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    Like

    • paul walter February 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Yes Forrest Gumpp, seems part of the troll’s armory. Anything but an adult conversation on real issues.

      Like

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Being threaten with legal action for voicing an uncontested opioion « Pandainabattlesuit - January 18, 2012

    […] No Place for Sheep. […]

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  2. Welcome to Monday ~ 23 January 2012 | feminaust ~ for australian feminism - January 23, 2012

    […] No Place For Sheep responds and then MTR threatens to sue them and NPFS gets even more cross! […]

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