Last year, erstwhile media magnate and agent provocateur Chuck C. Johnson swore to get even with Twitter for deigning to ban him from the platform forever. He filed a complaint in January in California, claiming Twitter was a public utility and therefore had to conform to the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.
The court did not agree. His complaint has tentatively been dismissed under California’s nuisance-lawsuit law, meaning that he could be responsible for court and legal costs.
Just last week, it came out that Johnson had settled a defamation suit against him and several other right-wing bloggers for $25,000.
Incidentally, Johnson used the photograph above of the Hindenburg disaster as the banner for his now-defunct GotNews (which is not us!) Twitter account. How prophetic!
To make a long story very short, Johnson, whom Twitter had already been suspended several times before, tweeted that he hoped his followers help him “take out” civil rights activist DeRay McKesson. Soon afterward, Johnson lost his account. He then tried repeatedly to create new accounts, which Twitter repeatedly banned. He eventually gave up beating his head against that wall, and seized upon the notion that he could sue Twitter to get his account back.
The court basically shot down each of Johnson’s legal arguments one by one, and granted Twitter’s motion to dismiss the suit under the California Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) law, which is designed to discourage nuisance suits by soreheads.
The tentative ruling on Johnson v. Twitter begins on page 27 of this document.