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Peter Thiel's Lawyer Wants To Silence Reporting On Trump's Hair (gawker.com) 301

An anonymous reader writes: Follow the report that Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing multiple lawsuits funded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, it's being reported that Thiel's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, is threatening to sue Gawker for reporting on the company that made Donald Trump's hair, claiming copyright prohibits Gawker from republishing his threat. He sent the company a letter on behalf of Edward Ivari, the owner of the company Gawker suggests may be behind Trump's hair. Gawker said it was sent a six-page letter that claims the story "was 'false and defamatory,' invaded Ivari's privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed 'tortious interference' with Ivari's business relations." Gawker reporter Ashley Feinberg suggested in a lengthy Gawker story that Trump secretly underwent Ivari International's $60,000 "microcylinder intervention" treatment, with the company's offices located on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. Gawker called Ivari's claims "ridiculous," and noted that the statements at issue were pulled from his own publicity materials and from public records of a 2001 lawsuit against the company.
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Peter Thiel's Lawyer Wants To Silence Reporting On Trump's Hair

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  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Tuesday June 14, 2016 @11:33PM (#52320197)

    This matters? WTH?

    With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

    We. Are. Doomed.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2016 @11:39PM (#52320217)

      This matters? WTH?

      With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      IP news is always a hot topic here...

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @12:02AM (#52320299)

      Actually, what matters is that a prominent silicon valley VC is fairly publicly going after Gawker for personal reasons. The Hulk Hogan lawsuit, while valid, was bankrolled by Thiel. Now, Gawker is going bankrupt. And Thiel's lawyer continues to go after them.

      While I'm not exactly a fan of Gawker, nor do I think Hulk Hogan's lawsuit was unfounded - the problem I have is that a very rich person basically paid lawyers to find problems and subsequently destroy a media entity that he didn't like. This is somewhat dangerous precedent - don't piss off the rich.

      Now, regardless of the degree of truth or confidence a journalist may have in their story, they and their editors are likely to think twice before reporting on anything involving the very rich. "Remember what happened to Gawker?"

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @03:26AM (#52320739) Homepage Journal

        No, what matters is that a Silicon Valley 'Libertarian' is using the full power of the State to shut up his critics.

        Once more proving that Libertarianism is nothing more than an attempt to sell Aristocracy to the gullible.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, what matters is that a Silicon Valley 'Libertarian' is using the full power of the State to shut up his critics.

          Once more proving that Libertarianism is nothing more than an attempt to sell Aristocracy to the gullible.

          Huh what? Do you even know what libertarian IS? Hint: their political philosophy revolves around using state power only when absolutely necessary. A libertarian state would less vigorously enforce IP law. What we have right now is an aristocracy! Who do you think bought and paid for all the new copyright laws of the last decade or so? Libertarians? No. MPAA/RIAA and the monied interests behind them. That's what an aristocracy does. You could also call it a plutocracy.

          It's a masterwork of PR that s

        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JonnyCalcutta ( 524825 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @03:53AM (#52320817)

          Its 'Anarchy Lite' - all the great flavour of anarchy, with no loss of privelage

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          No, what matters is that a Silicon Valley 'Libertarian' is using the full power of the State to shut up his critics.

          So Gawker didn't flaunt the law and refuse to take down the sex tape when ordered to by the court? Who knew. [archive.is] Gawker also doesn't have double standards on publishing sex tapes or nudes either? Who knew. [imgur.com]

          You're just so damn upset that someone actually had the money after a decade to actually be able to provide a defense against Gawker acting like pricks, either posting sex tapes, nudes, outting people's sexuality, destroying lives and could actually fight back for a change.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mvdwege ( 243851 )

            Since when is having a double standard something you need to call in the State for to arbitrate? Oh, of course, only when it's the 21st century Earls and Dukes that are the target.

            As I said in my first post, the gullible.

        • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @09:35AM (#52321643)

          Once more proving that Libertarianism is nothing more than an attempt to sell Aristocracy to the gullible.

          But not those dumb enough to believe the lie. No, like Nigerian letters Libertarianism goes after those with an overblown ego, those who think they are going to be the Aristocrats. But unfortunately, the result for the rest of us is worse than just spam.

          That's why I think we should all support the Free State Project [freestateproject.org]. Having them all huddle in their Gulch means the rest of us can start rebuilding our society free from interference.

      • And yet those impulse buy paparrazi rags are still on sale at the grocery store. Honestly, who really gives a crap about "Obscure Soap Opera Actors 3rd cousin gave birth to an alien!"? There must be a market for that brain garbage because those "magazines" and sites like Gawker continue to pop up and exist.

        Gawker is one case where voting with your wallet simply does not work. Since they own other, (arguably) more reputable and popular sites, they get some portion of the profits. Sure, their bankruptcy is
      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        While I'm not exactly a fan of Gawker, nor do I think Hulk Hogan's lawsuit was unfounded - the problem I have is that a very rich person basically paid lawyers to find problems and subsequently destroy a media entity that he didn't like. This is somewhat dangerous precedent - don't piss off the rich.

        Now, regardless of the degree of truth or confidence a journalist may have in their story, they and their editors are likely to think twice before reporting on anything involving the very rich. "Remember what ha

      • Calling Gawker a 'media entity' is probably being generous. I'm glad you didn't even try for 'journalist' or something serious.

        Gawker is barely a step up from the office scuttlebutt in terms of pandering to the lowest common denominator. They make the National Enquirer or the Daily Mail look like the flippin' NYT in terms of fact checking and intellectual rigor.

        In another time, the vulgar 'hitpiece' style of commentary would have marked them as fodder only for the lowest of the low, not to be taken seriou

      • the problem I have is that a very rich person basically paid lawyers to find problems and subsequently destroy a media entity that he didn't like. This is somewhat dangerous precedent - don't piss off the rich.

        Now, regardless of the degree of truth or confidence a journalist may have in their story, they and their editors are likely to think twice before reporting on anything involving the very rich. "Remember what happened to Gawker?"

        Nothing new. Its a time honored American practice of using the legal s

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ragahast ( 879945 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @12:28AM (#52320381)

      This matters? WTH? With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      I'm guessing from your comment that you're ignorant of the context here. Peter Thiel personally dislikes Gawker, and is now bankrolling third-party lawsuits against them. It's "news" because the very wealthy are openly perverting the United State's permissive litigation rules in order to quell disfavored speech. It's "for nerds" because those wealthy individuals happen to be high profile tech VCs targeting new media websites using, among other things, intellectual property law.

      • I originally read the "Why this matters, WTH" comment as just referring to Trump's hair, not the actual lawsuit which is not only ridiculous but also a concerning attempt at closing down from of the press.

        I really don't get the obsession about the man's hair though. Surely there are more important aspects of Trump to worry about.

      • I'm guessing from your comment that you're ignorant of the context here. Peter Thiel personally dislikes Gawker, and is now bankrolling third-party lawsuits against them. It's "news" because the very wealthy are openly perverting the United State's permissive litigation rules in order to quell disfavored speech.

        I can only say that outside of Gawker's legal team, I think just about every lawyer in the USA would argue that the system is working perfectly and has no problem at all with what Thiel is doing and would not consider it perversion.

        • I can only say that outside of Gawker's legal team, I think just about every lawyer in the USA would argue that the system is working perfectly and has no problem at all with what Thiel is doing and would not consider it perversion.

          With the Gawker legal team, I imagine their impression would be dependent on how well Gawker employees were following their coaching and advice in court.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @01:10AM (#52320493) Journal

      With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      Yes, you should be worried about the ability of a thin-skinned person with lots of money to shut down a media outlet. Today Gawker, tomorrow the Washington Post, then the NY Times.

      Do you think that a democracy can function if the only news that is published is news that offends no one?

      • by washort ( 6555 )
        Funny, I don't remember this kind of outcry when Bezos bought the Washington Post. Why is it any less worrying when billionaires own media outlets?
        • It would depend on how many they own, and how influential they are personally over that portfolio. Like Rupert Murdock owns Fox News, but Roger Ailes is the one actually pulling it's strings.
        • Bezos bought the Post as an investment, not as a means to shut down criticism. The Post has been no worse since he bought it.

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @07:26AM (#52321177)

        Yes, you should be worried about the ability of a thin-skinned person with lots of money to shut down a media outlet. Today Gawker, tomorrow the Washington Post, then the NY Times.

        Do you think that a democracy can function if the only news that is published is news that offends no one?

        Speaking of which, Donald Trump is pulling The Washington Post’s press credentials [washingtonpost.com]to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign.

        He also promises to ‘open up’ libel laws to make suing the media easier. [washingtonpost.com]

        The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, called Trump’s action “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press” and pledged that his paper would keep reporting vigorously about the presumptive Republican nominee.

        • Speaking of which, Donald Trump is pulling The Washington Post’s press credentials [washingtonpost.com]to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign.

          The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, called Trump’s action “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press” and pledged that his paper would keep reporting vigorously about the presumptive Republican nominee.

          Of course he would. The press has changed over the years. They've become addicted to the special press access that they get to people where they get force fed whatever those people decide to feed them. Like scraps from the table. The Post forgot that's what the access gives them and they lost it. Now they have to do reporting the old fashioned way or just write opinion pieces and regurgitate what others report.

      • Can Fox News be next?
    • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @01:38AM (#52320547) Journal

      I have it on good authority that Trumps' hair is actually a Bio-Engineered organism that acts both as a self defense system and as a satellite reception system allowing him to send and receive signals from low earth orbit satellites. In the event of a physical attack the hair piece will intercept and deflect bullets up to .50.
      It is an unverified rumor that Trump will name his hair piece as his running mate and potential Vice President.

      • by Z80a ( 971949 )

        But does it run Linux?

      • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

        It is an unverified rumor that Trump will name his hair piece as his running mate and potential Vice President.

        You should be ashamed of yourself. Trump has wanted hair like that ever since he was a little girl.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      You never know when that newest vr game may include a trump hair "hat".

    • I thought the details of the technology behind the hair was fairly interesting?

    • That is also a ridiculously tortured summary. It should go like this: Edward Ivar, the maker of Donald Trump's hairpiece, is suing Gawker Media to stifle reporting about that hairpiece. He has hired lawyer Charles J. Harder to represent him in the case. Harder is the same lawyer who represents billionaire Peter Thiel, who is also suing Gawker media Harder is attempting to prevent republication of legal documents he has sent to Gawker, claiming copyright on them.

      Once you de-torture and normalize the wor

    • With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      No, but we should absolutely be worried about yet another attempt to use copyright law to diminish freedom: "Thiel's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, is threatening to sue Gawker for reporting on the company that made Donald Trump's hair, claiming copyright prohibits Gawker from republishing his threat."

      All such abuses should be reported to help depotentate and overturn copyright law ASAP, least the Information Age

    • This matters? WTH?

      With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      We. Are. Doomed.

      We are also doomed because it appears in 21st century 'Murrica, Donald Trump's hair source is considered Top Secret.

    • You, too, could be sued for billions and have your home and car taken and your wages garnished for publishing a blog post insulting someone's shitty hair.

    • The funny thing is, the people making fun of Trump's Hair, are often the same people that go nuts when people make fun of how bad Hillary looks (pantsuits n stuff).

      I just wish the two parties would grow up and act like adults, but sadly it is only a pipe dream.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      With everything going on in the tech world should we be worried about a lawsuit about Trumps hair?

      Do you seriously think this will stop with the hair? His last "STFU" lawsuit was a smashing success, he's trying it again, but you think "this time" it won't progress any further? This is a guy with enough money to bankrupt media outlets through barratry, his favorite candidate is already getting ALL the media coverage, and now he's suing to discorage negative parts of that coverage. Do you truly not see where this is leading?

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2016 @11:34PM (#52320201)
    ..nothing to do with Trump, but hey it might fool people into not liking Trump if we say it is...
    • by TroII ( 4484479 )

      Nothing to do with Peter Thiel, either, but accuracy isn't a quality I've come to expect from Gawker headlines.

    • It's about the hair. We all know since the Simpsons that a hair transplant that is evil can turn the most benign idiot into a scheming mastermind.

      What more proof do you need?

  • Peter Thief? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2016 @11:42PM (#52320229)

    IANAL, but if I were I think I'd change my name to something harder to misread.

    • by Whibla ( 210729 )

      You're absolutely right.

      (Credit where it's due - thanks "The IT Crowd")

      Based on his love of litigation, I suggest he change his last name to File instead...

  • Why doesn't Assange just leak who manufactures Trump's the hair-hats? Or does he only leak about Hillary and/or relevant topics?

    • Because, in all fairness, it doesn't really matter. I may joke all day about the evil hairpiece and how it controls its wearer, but in the end, what does it matter? So he's under the rug. He's a guy and he wants to look young. If anything, it makes him human. What aging guy cannot relate?

      With Hillary, I have the opposite problem.

  • News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2016 @11:56PM (#52320275)
    This is the kind of stuff that belongs on tmz. The saddest part (other than it making it to /.) is that a bunch of other renowned journalists praised the original article about trump's hairpiece.

    "drawing praise from staffers at the Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic; and at least three winners of the Pulitzer Prize."

    Ugh.
    • Yeah, this is even worse than the media trying to make bush admit he did cocaine, and giving obama the pass since he mentioned in his book he did cocaine.

      So, Hillary, wig or no wig? No one wants to know....

      • No one would care about Trump's hair, except that Trump is so incredibly sensitive about it. His defensiveness about the hair causes people to pay more attention to the hair. No one makes fun of Hillary's pantsuits much because she's doesn't become visibly angry when people make fun of her pantsuits. Same with Trump's hands - almost no one would have paid any attention to his hands if he hadn't gone and made a big deal about it when someone reported on it in Spy. It clearly pushed a button with Trump an

    • This is an election year. The media has to find something to talk about other than public policy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ragahast ( 879945 )
      When the very wealthy bankroll third-party lawsuits against media outlets they personally dislike, it's "news." When those wealthy individuals are high profile tech VCs, it's "for nerds."
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Did you read the article?

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @12:00AM (#52320295) Journal

    The original story that set off this latest Peter Thiel tantrum is one of the best actual pieces of journalism about Trump that's been in any media outlet, anywhere. Even harsh critics of Gawker singled it out as an excellent story.

    Here's what one Pulitzer-winner (Dan Fagin) said about the story:

    Anyone who thinks investigative reporting is dead should pay attention as Gawker blows the 'lid' off Hairpiecegate.

    David Simon, the former prize-winning journalist and screenwriter of "The Wire" said of the Gawker story:

    For real, the finest work Gawker has done. Which is at once both a genuine compliment and an easy straight-line.

    He also said that if the US press had done work this good on the question of WMDs and the run-up the Iraq War, that war never would have happened.

    You have to admit that the story itself, meticulously sourced and thoroughly researched, is pretty impressive.

    http://gawker.com/is-donald-tr... [gawker.com]

    It draws a very interesting picture of the man, Donald Trump.

    And Mr Harder's lawsuit? It's pretty funny reading too, since he tries to assert that his legal demand for retraction and apology is covered by copyright law.

    I realize that a lot of the ACs here hate Gawker and their properties because they were harsh on #gamergate and MRAs (who even named their now-defunct gamergate forum, "Kotaku in Action" to prove that they're not mad, they're actually laughing), but I recommend reading the stories for yourself and forming your own opinion.

    http://gawker.com/now-peter-th... [gawker.com]

    • I don't think people understand the criticisms in the compliments gawker has been given.

      This is the media telling Gawker if they out that kind of effort into real news they wouldn't be a farce. This is them giving Gawker a bow, right before they piss on its grave. You wait and see, the people currently working for Gawker are going to be blacklisted into Walmart greeters when this all wraps up.

  • I'm going to lose so much sleep worrying about trumps hair. It's the worst thing since Stalin's and Hitler's moustaches, which we all know were the real problem. Just look at what Gorbachev's red blotch did to the USSR. That's why I'm voting for Hillary. No obvious defect on her face or body to make fun of. Just the pant suits. I'm thinking that polyester can only do so much damage. /sarc.

  • The best they have on Trump is that he may secretly be somewhat bald? Is there any Trump story not newsworthy these days? Soon CNN will find out that he hangs the toilet paper facing in, not out, or something.

    This election, holy moly.

  • by Smiddi ( 1241326 )
    This story makes me laugh, hair hair hair.
  • That money would have been way better spent training a ferret to sit on Donald's head.

  • Why care about his ridiculous hair, when the person itself is so much more ridiculous! (except if the hair was controlling the person ...)

  • Wherever he got his hair, It looks terrible. It doesn't even look like a bad hairpiece. It's so weird it's not even possible to see where it actually enters / leaves the head. It's like an elaborately stacked and woven combover which is hair sprayed and fixed into position somehow.

    Of course if he weren't such a narcissist he wouldn't have resorted to such ludicrous measures in the first place.

  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @07:23AM (#52321173)
    is that homophobia is bad. Gawker wanted to take Thiel down a peg by revealing his sexuality, the implication being that homosexuality is bad (why else would it hurt him?). Rather appalling considering that the man who owns Gawker is himself gay. Perhaps it would be different if Thiel was a hypocritically anti-gay activist, but no, it was just a private and personal matter.

    I don't know if it's right for Thiel to pursue his vendetta, but I can't really blame him.

  • So if you report on something a rich person doesn't like, they can sue you into oblivion? That sounds totally fair.

  • I heard that practically all women in the USA make "nose reshaping" surgery, and that a successful man must have the thick hair even after 60 or 70, what means one or another artificial approach.

    We hear critique of the outdated ethnic customs of a burqa & circumcision, but isn't it in the same league?
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday June 15, 2016 @09:20AM (#52321595) Journal
    Thiel has already destroyed Gawker.

    Gawker needs to take advantage of what little time they have left to send a message to asshat billionaires who think they can control the Streisand Effect. They have nothing left to lose - ie, time to basically turn into "WikiLeaks for things that piss off Peter Thiel". Billionaire Paparazzi. Make it so he can't take a shit in a public restroom without someone reporting on the time, duration, and characterization of the smell.
  • Wow! I wonder what he tells the German newspapers, who reported on his Granddad Drumpf's whorehouse in Klondike, that he opened after having fled from military service in Germany.
    I guess that's where Donald got his 'appreciation' of women.

  • Or there will be hell toupee.

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