Back in October a group of activists with We Are Change Victoria (WACV) organized what they called a ‘Solutions Rally. It was a refreshingly unique idea. Rather than yelling, complaining and blocking traffic they would instead talk about how things could be made better. So, they got a permit, got the setup a stage, a sound system and a line-up of speakers.
One of the originally intended speakers was Doug Christie– a lawyer who’s done extensive work on free speech and expression cases. He’s also defended some fairly notorious people including Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and Wolfgang Droege of the Heritage Front in Ontario. Many people don’t like Christie’s work- particularly the anarchists- this is where today’s story begins and where Zoe Blunt enters the stage.
Zoe Blunt (whose real name is Tracie Park) is an anarchist who’s been involved with a number of militant environmental organizations including Earth First!, the Deep Green Resistance and the Ruckus Society. She’s also a devout follower of Derrick Jensen, a man who openly advocates eco-terrorism including the blowing up of dams.
Blunt, who’s not connected to WACV, set herself on a full-scale attack from moment the speaker’s list was released. Without hesitation, she immediately made the accusation that Christie is a racist- and, by the virtue of having put Christie on the speakers list, the people of WACV are racists too.
After all the attacks began, Christie decided to step back from the rally- deciding his presence would cause too much disruption to the rest of the rally. Unfortunately for the people at the rally Blunt decided the change in the speaker’s list wasn’t enough- she showed up with some of her friends and tried to interrupt the rally with megaphones and loud accusations that all the people on the stage are racists.
Things next escalated when Mike Henderson (a.k.a. Mad Love), one of Blunt’s supporters setup a vicious attack against WACV’s Ryan Elson in the form of a website doxxing him. Not only did the website publish Elson’s address, phone number and other personal information- but, the site also outed Elson as being gay. This was never a secret amongst Elson’s friends, but he works in the construction industry and kept a low profile about his sexuality due to potential discrimination.
Over the next few days Blunt repeatedly posted derogatory comments about Elson on Facebook and through her Twitter account. She made the (as yet unfounded) accusation that Elson is a racist- even going as far as to create a Twitter hashtag for Elson: #DumbestRacist. People began noticing Blunt’s abusiveness and began to speak out.
Blunt also filed a copyright complaint against a picture (of Elson) that Elson used on his webpage. Elson contested her complaint- Blunt has now filed a court case against him. Blunt’s court filing is only about copyright- but, it appears from her online postings that she’s filing the case with other intentions.
She began tweeting out taunts that she was suing him. Then one of Blunt’s friends showed-up to serve notice with the court filing wrapped in Christmas paper. Then, she setup a fundraising page she titled “Sue The Jerk” where she claimed that Elson was a racist, and that people should fund her lawsuit (over a photograph of Elson) as a way of attacking him.
The most interesting part of Blunt’s court filing is how she explains the damages. There’s much less explanation of the damages caused by Elson using the (still contested) photograph and a lot of emphasis on recovering court costs and lost wages. Many observers view this as an indicator she’s not as serious about getting remedy for her copyright claim as she’s filed the case with the intent to cause harm to Elson.
If this is true (the courts will decide) Blunt’s tactics in this case are very similar to how she operates as an activist. The organizations Blunt works with practice what she describes as “economic sabotage“. Earth First! brought the world tree spiking, equipment sabotage, burning down buildings- anything it takes to cripple companies in the forestry industry. When fighting the Bear Mountain development on Vancouver Island, Blunt made dubious claims of native grave sites, blocked construction, and then started throwing around unfounded accusations that the developer was a racist.
Elson has responded by filing a counter-claim against Blunt arguing that she’s filed her case with the intent of economically sabotaging him in a similar way to how she attacks corporations. Elson served Blunt with her papers today- the video is below. I’ll be following this story and will continue to bring you more as it develops…