I feel sorry about what happened to Texas-based journalist Kurt Eichenwald.
A detractor who knew about Eichenwald’s epilepsy addressed a tweet to him that contained a flashing image with the express intention of inducing a seizure in Eichenwald.
The malicious effort met with success as Eichenwald indeed suffered a seizure, which he attributed to the tweet.
So now Eichenwald is suing the author of the tweet, a Marylander he identified as John Rivello, and he may sue another 90 individuals.
As the Daily Caller reports:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested John Rivello in March, months after he allegedly sent an animated image known as a GIF that Eichenwald says caused him to have a seizure. Eichenwald suffers from epilepsy, and an FBI affidavit said that Rivello told other Twitter users that he hoped the GIF “sends [Eichenwald] into a seizure.”
The civil lawsuit filed by Eichenwald’s attorney in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, alleges battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and purposeful infliction of bodily harm. A press release about the complaint said that through the civil discovery process, Eichenwald’s attorneys “intend to identify [individuals who allegedly conspired with Rivello and to pursue claims against them as well.”
“We are also considering additional civil actions against the more than 90 people who have sent flashing strobe lights to Mr. Eichenwald subsequent to the public disclosure that Mr. Rivello’s strobe attack had caused Mr. Eichenwald to have an epileptic seizure,” the press release from [law firm] Rothwell Figg added.
The lawsuit itself (view the corrected legal complaint at this link: 09318508252) is disturbing because it impinges on First Amendment speech protections.
If people like Eichenwald have preexisting medical conditions that could be triggered or aggravated by flashing images on Twitter, then maybe they should stay away from Twitter altogether. I mean, who hasn’t clicked on something on Twitter and then been completely taken aback by an image or video that subsequently appears?
If using Twitter can physically harm you, it makes sense to stop using Twitter. Amirite?
I don’t expect Eichenwald will do that because he is an obnoxious, self-righteous, left-wing fanatic who happens to be a few tacos short of a combo plate.