Two of the “Jane Doe” defendants in the Diet Madison Avenue legal case have petitioned the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against them earlier this year by Ralph Watson, the former Chief Creative Officer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
They both filed late last week in separate pleadings.
Watson was terminated last year after several posts on the Diet Madison Avenue Instagram account identified him as an alleged sexual predator and (in one instance) a rapist. The alleged behavior, per the DMA posts, was said to have occurred over many years at several agencies.
In the suit, Watson has identified more than 100 “Doe” defendants. Last year, he won the right to subpoena records from Instagram and Facebook that would reveal the identities of the anonymous individuals behind DMA that Watson believes defamed him.
The two Does filing summary action petitions include Illinois Doe 1 and New York Doe 2, the states referring to the residences of the defendants. Watson has said in previous filings that New York Doe 2 accused him — falsely, he says — of rape.
In her petition, Illinois Doe 1 argued that Watson’s suit fails to state a “plausible claim” that she had anything to do with the creation or dissemination of the alleged defamatory posts on the DMA Instagram account. She acknowledged commenting on the posts and commending those who posted for their courageousness in speaking up, which she noted in her petition, is not illegal.
New York Doe 2 also argued that Watson failed to state a plausible claim specifically against her with details about her alleged participation in writing or disseminating the posts.
In the filing, Doe 2 did not acknowledge making the rape assertion, but did argue that Watson was, by legal standards, a “limited purpose public figure” by the time that allegation appeared on the DMA Instagram account. As such, Watson was required to plead that the rape allegation was not just false, but that it was made with “actual malice,” which he failed to do.
Watson hasn’t yet responded in court to the dismissal petitions.