As the Burzynski debacle continues, I started to wonder: Who is Blogger Zero? Who did Marc Stephens, then under they employ of the Burzynski Clinic, harass first? You’ve no doubt read by know about his unhinged rantings sent to bloggers, demanding censorship of opinions critical of the Clinic. Two of the scariest threats were to Andy Lewis, who was told to “think of his family”, and high school prodigy Rhys Morgan, who was sent a google maps picture of his home.
While the clinic has tossed Stephens under the bus, it hasn’t backed away from its implicit threats against UK bloggers. But Stephens cut his teeth a few weeks earlier than these exchanges. Last year the Genomic Repairman posted a great article on Burzynski’s hilariously and implausibly named “antineoplastons”. He has since moved his blog to Scientopia. Stephens apparently doesn’t know Bora Zivkovic, whose cephalopoid tentacles embrace the entire science blogosphere, and sent a blaringly idiotic letter to Arikia Millikan, the science blogosphere’s putative Number One. Here’s the first missive fired off to Arikia (near the end of October):
Demand to Cease and Desist and Removal of Webpage/Articles
I represent Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski Clinic, and Burzynski Research Institute. It has been brought to our attention that you have content on your websiteshttp://www.labspaces.net/view_blog.php?blogID=304 that is in violation of several state and federal laws. This is a legal complaint regarding the article you posted online titled “Antineoplastons? You gotta be kidding me!” dated Monday, August 9, 2010. This correspondence constitutes a demand that you immediately cease and desist in your actions defaming and libeling my clients. Please allow this correspondence to serve as notice to you that you published libelous and defamatory information.
Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your postings to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: libel, defamation, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships. The information you assert in your postings is factually incorrect and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity, and with the actual and specific malice to injure my client’s business relationships in the community.I am not sure if you are familiar with Defamation (Libel). If not, I will assist you.What is Defamation (Libel)Libel is a published or fixed form of defamation of character; a civil wrong that falsely impugns the reputation or character of a person or entity, opening the target up to public scorn or ridicule. Libel might appear in a magazine, book, newspaper, or in a radio or television broadcast. Signs, billboards or posters can also be mediums for libel. Online libel, or cyber libel takes electronic forms such as email, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, podcasts, vodcasts and Web pages. Although many citizens do not yet realize it, comments made to chat boards, newsgroups and even mailing lists are all forms of publication. Criticisms of companies or their goods can be a basis for libel charges if the poster misrepresents facts, or fails to qualify his or her post as opinion.Every comment you made in your article is highly incorrect. I suggest you remove the article in its entirety or I will file suit against you immediately. I find it surprising for you to make careless statements about a documentary that you never watched. If you would like to find out more information you can watch the Burzynski documentary FREE atwww.burzynskipatientgroup.org. Please note by law you are held accountable for posting incorrect information from a third party..including from the original source. I am not sure where you obtained your incorrect information, but you will be held liable for your statements. REMOVE ARTICLE IMMEDIATELY.
GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.Sincerely,Marc StephensBurzynski Clinic
9432 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77055
[followed by personal information regarding Arikia’s putative whereabouts]
Hello Mr. Stephens,
First of all, I don’t know where you got my contact information, but I am not the author of said post, nor do I have any affiliation with Labspaces.net other than being a reader. Please pay more attention to detail when leveling legal threats.
Secondly, I contacted the Burzynski Clinic, which you claim to represent, and learned that you have no affiliation with said clinic. A simple Google search reveals that you present yourself as a marketing representative of the Burzynski Patient Group, which according to the HR department of the Burzynski Group has no affiliation with the clinic itself, and is merely a website and support group created by former patients. The Burzynski Clinic was not very happy to learn that people outside their organization are representing the clinic without permission.
A bit of unsolicited advice: I would be careful with misrepresenting yourself on behalf of organizations if I were you. There’s something called libel, which, although many citizens do not yet realize it, comments made to chat boards, newsgroups and even mailing lists are all forms of publication that can be taken into account when dealing with libel cases. Criticisms of companies or their goods can be a basis for libel charges if the poster misrepresents facts, or fails to qualify his or her post as opinion.
Interestingly, it appears that Stephens actually was working for Burzynski at that point.
Stephens (picture spittle):
Arikia,Save the advice. I am very serious. We support freedom of speech, but we will not tolerate defamation. Anyone not cooperating a subpoena will be filed to obtain the rest of your personal information.
Immediately cease and desist from making any further unsupported, defamatory, libelous or harmful statements relating to my clients through any medium, including the Internet. You are not to post, host, or make available any libelous, false or defamatory statements against my clients via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You shall not create any new alias, nor use any old alias, to post, host, or make available any statement regarding my client via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media.
Renee [Trimble, Burzynski Clinic’s media guru], if this webpage is re-activated let me know and I will proceed with filing the complaint as well as the subpoena.
Arikia (laughter, annoyance, and no spittle):
What did you not understand about my email? That is not my website. You made a mistake in your research, which doesn’t surprise me seeing as how you obviously are not a real lawyer. Please don’t involve me further in your emails.
Stephens, perhaps lost in an opaque fog of misdirected rage:
Arikia,You own a website that the author of the article is involved with, so I thought I would let you know you have a liability on your hands. I am an attorney if that helps you sleep at night. Enjoy your day.
No, I do not. You are mistaken. Please stop emailing me.