'Skank' Blog Shuttered, But Model Persists With Lawsuit
The blogger's lawyer, Anne W. Salisbury, said the move to shutter the site could resolve the case. "This should put an end to this matter, if Ms. Cohen's stated motives for bringing this action are true," Salisbury said. (A copy is still available through Google's cache, but the original site returns a message stating that the blog has been removed.)
But Cohen's lawyer, Steven Wagner, isn't backing down from the request to unmask the author. "In my view, it was about time that the blog was taken down and I'm pleased that the anonymous blogger finally did the right thing. It should have never been put up in the first place. We still want to know who put the blog up and we are going to find out," Wagner said.
Judge Joan Madden hasn't yet ruled on Cohen's request to unmask the blogger.
The site drew worldwide attention after Cohen involved Google in a lawsuit to unmask the blogger. The blog itself consisted of five entries dated Aug. 21, 2008, all of which slammed the 37-year-old Cohen. One post labeled her an "old hag," while another described her as a "psychotic, lying, whoring still going to clubs at her age, skank."
It also featured photos of Cohen and her friends in suggestive poses. The photos were taken at a private party last year and posted to Friendster and Facebook.
Cohen alleges that the blog defamed her and she filed a lawsuit in January to learn the blogger's identity, as a first step toward suing for libel. The blog was hosted by Google, so Cohen asked for a ruling ordering the search company to disclose any identifying information.
Bloggers, like other Web users, are entitled to anonymity in New York--but there are exceptions for libel. The anonymous blogger is objecting to Cohen's request, arguing that the posts aren't factual. Opinions can't be libelous, but statements of fact can be.
"No reasonable viewer of the blog would or could conclude that the statements referring to petitioner as a 'skank,' or 'skanky,' or 'acting like a ho' actually purport to convey verifiable statements of fact," the blogger argued in papers filed with the court.
Cohen alleged that the blog had drawn the attention of at least one client, who questioned whether the model was an appropriate spokesperson.