BullyVille in the Press
Former Revenge Porn King Hunter Moore Billed £170,000 for Defamation
Article by: Wired UK
March 13, 2013

Former Revenge Porn King Hunter Moore Billed £170,000 for Defamation


Revenge porn pioneer Hunter Moore is finally on the receiving end of some sweet, sweet revenge. He has been ordered to pay anti-bullying site owner James McGibney $250,000 (£170,000) in damages for comments he made on Twitter accusing the former US marine of being a paedophile and possessing child pornography. The remarks were made shortly after Moore sold revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp? to BullyVille site owner McGibney in 2012 for a "nominal fee" (or, if you believethis video interview, for loads of cash and to a big corporation) after claiming he'd had a change of heart.


According to documents filed in Las Vegas this week, Moore failed to contest the charges and did not appear in court after repeatedly being served with a summons. After McGibney provided evidence that "clearly and convincingly proved Moore's statements were false, injurious and defamatory" he filed for a default judgement, one that has now came to fruition, Betabeat reports. The court awarded McGibney $250,000 in damages and ordered Moore to pay court costs and lawyers fees. It's a victory for McGibney, and a small one for the countless people targeted on IsAnyoneUp?, the site which indiscriminately posted naked images or videos of unsuspecting people submitted by disgruntled exes (Moore says he had an age-check system in place). But in taking action, the BullyVille site owner admits he too has had to become the bully.


"I tried to use positivity to stop [it], and I actually (naively) thought it worked," McGibney wrote in a post on 21 August 2012. "Now that he's crossed the line with his personal attacks against me and my family, there's no turning back, I won't let him... Do I have your undivided attention Hunter? I'm standing up to a bully, and that bully is you. Sometimes you have to be a bully to beat a bully. I'm reclaiming the innocence you so recklessly stole from these innocent young girls whose lives you've destroyed."


McGibney was understandably peeved by the Twitter remarks, but it was a series of events that tipped him over the edge last year.

Moore has remained unapologetic throughout his career, claiming all he did was find an efficient way to monetise an existing practice. Then, after appearing to appease McGibney and other anti-bullying activisits with the sale of IsAnyoneUp?, he was back to his inflammatory antics within hours, taking to Twitter to vent. It was here he made the comments about McGibney, who chose to remain quiet -- that is, until Moore's next comment.

"Hunter Moore threatened to rape my wife while my kids watched," McGibney wrote. "He has now been served with a defamation lawsuit and has restraining orders filed against him in two States... Anyone who retweeted Hunter's paedophile comments and added their own can also expect to be served with a defamation lawsuit." Moore had encouraged his followers to repeat the accusations in return for free clothes.

It's not clear whether Moore has the cash to stump up for the bill. In one of the many, many interviews he has given, he told The Awl in November 2011 that the site brought in $13,000 a month at its peak but that the server bill was $8,000 a month. On top of that, he said he had to pay a lawyer, PR, server administrator and two security specialists that check the age of the unwitting individuals humiliated in the posts. If all this is accurate, it doesn't look like there was much of a profit margin, which begs the question, what was his driving motivation?


According to Moore, at its height the site totted up 30 million page views per month, perhaps proving his defensive argument that the need is there, he was just filling it. It would also explain why a whole crop of other similar sites have appeared in the years since IsAnyoneUp? was launched.


Parents, victims and lawyers continue to battle against the legal framework that appears to afford Moore more protection than his victims -- or, as he might put it, his users' victims. Lawsuits are charging revenge porn sites with breaching privacy or copyright laws. But as it stands now in the US, the site owners and operators are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that online service providers are not responsible for the acts of their users.


The hope is that the movement against revenge porn sites will gather enough momentum to bring a successful case and set a precedent that says material published without consent in these instances is illegal. Whether or not this ever comes to fruition, a greater problem is perhaps the apathy being expressed by Moore, and others like him. It's the same apathy and distanced disregard we have seen with webcam spying hackers that appear to have so distanced themselves from their victims, responsibility and sympathy evaporates entirely.


"Why should I care?" Moore told Betabeat in an interview, "it's not my life. It's literally just a business. It's stupid not to monetise it", or the particularly astonishing admission made to the Village Voice in April 2012 that, despite not wanting to hurt anyone physically (emotionally is ok), "let's be real for a second: If somebody killed themselves over that? Do you know how much money I'd make? At the end of the day, I do not want anybody to hurt themselves. But if they do? Thank you for the money."


This beyond bizarre self-centred worldview is perpetuated by the popularity of these sites. As long as there is a demand, people like Moore are going to keep taking advantage -- why lose out, when the next guy won't have any qualms and will pocket your potential fortune? If Moore's reported hopes and dreams come to, that will never happen. He plans to get the lion's share, and find a new portal for his narcissistic adlibs. Amid rumours of his next site mapping photos of where people live (he has since denied this, and maintains he'd only post addresses of people who had personally wronged him -- because that's ok) and a new TV show starring him, Moore has actually found time to blame the media for what happened to IsAnyoneUp?


"I sold it because I hated what the media turned it into and it could never be what I wanted it to be," he said in a post on Huntermoore.tv in November 2012, talking about the potential new incarnation. "I am creating something that will question if you will ever want to have kids. I am making something very scary but yet fun. If you remember the old IsAnyoneUp? you will have it back but with a mobile app to go along with it and a very strong social networking site of our community. I hope you are all as excited as I am."


In the meantime, McGibney says the legal action against Moore has just begun. In a statement he said he plans to donate the $250,000 to womens' shelters across the US, before signing off with a nod to Anonymous, the group which took down Huntermoore.tv as soon as it surfaced last year: "Never forgive, never forget. #expectus."

Image: Shutterstock


Source:  wired.co.uk

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