Suit filed in San Francisco and subpoena served on Weebly web-hosting service.
A lawsuit was filed on September 5th in California Superior Court in San Francisco by Bethany Sherman, the former owner of Oregon’s OG Analytical cannabis testing laboratory. The lawsuit claims injury from defamatory statements made in a Eugene Antifa article published in December 2017. The original article, Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Blackhat, The Nazis in Your Neighborhood, described the participation of Sherman’s boyfriend, and father of their children, with white nationalist groups and participation in holocaust denial protests in the area.
We reported on the article and explained how they gained access to an online chat the white supremacist groups used enabling them to identify individuals. The Eugene Antifa and Rose City Antifa groups published the information, including the article through the Eugene Antifa website https://eugeneantifa.weebly.com, which is hosted by San Francisco based Weebly. The article made numerous accusations and also published the couples home address, which Sherman claimed caused her family to be harassed.
Sherman’s SLAPP suit, as it is called, is against 10 anonymous antifascist defendants. A SLAPP suit is a “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” SLAPP suit’s are intended to typically restrict speech and silence critics. She is seeking monetary awards yet to be determined. She is also seeking to “unmask” the defendants, who are being defended by the Civil Liberties Defense Center of Eugene (CLDC).
Sherman’s attorney is William Johnson, who is the chairperson of the “American Freedom Party,” the very same fascist group that Sherman and her boyfriend have been linked to. He is the author of a proposed constitutional amendment that would repeal the 14th and 15th amendments and deport almost all non-whites from the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified Johnson and members of AFP as a white nationalists.
The CLDC filed a motion to quash the subpoenas issued to Weebly, which CLDC considers a constitutional violation. They stated in a press release, “If granted, the subpoena will violate the First Amendment rights of the unnamed defendant(s) to engage in anonymous political speech.”
The CLDC went on to explain that it is obviously an attempt to expose the identities of the people who have accessed the Antifa websites:
“Additionally, plaintiffs appear to be forum shopping: the fact that plaintiff Sherman is an Oregon resident, her business was based in Eugene, OR, and the article was posted on the Eugene Antifa website makes it puzzling that plaintiffs claimed that all of their injuries occurred in San Francisco. From the face of plaintiffs’ complaint, it is clear that the only connection to San Francisco is Weebly, Inc., which is based out of San Francisco. Indeed, the lawsuit appears to be an attempt to simply unmask the authors of the article and the identities of people that have accessed the Eugene Antifa website.”
In a separate lawsuit filed in Oregon, a dozen former employees of OG Analytical have sued Sherman. The employees are demanding payment for unpaid hours they had worked and for denial of access to their retirement accounts. The suit seeks $164,300 in damages.
“The lawsuit filed by Bethany Sherman’s former workers at OG Analytical alleges she “berated and blamed” the employees at a meeting last Dec. 5 that came on the heels of an article published by a Portland newspaper that reported her alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups …
“According to the lawsuit, the employees in December learned about Sherman’s alleged affiliation with white nationalist groups after reading an article in The Oregonian newspaper.
“After the story ran, Sherman gathered employees, said she intended to sell the business and scolded her workers ‘for their failure to defend and support her in the face of the accusations’ published in the article, the suit says.”