If a story involves the words "skank" and "ho," an anonymous blogger, a besmirched model, and lawsuits, hell, it can be a Maureen Dowd op-ed column. The imbroglio between model Liksula Cohen and "Skanks in NYC" blogger Rosemary Port—Port wrote that Cohen was a "psychotic, lying, whoring...skank," Cohen successfully sued to have Google give up Port's e-mail address—gives Dowd an opportunity to opine about anonymity on the Internet, "If I read all the vile stuff about me on the Internet, I’d never come to work. I’d scamper off and live my dream of being a cocktail waitress in a militia bar in Wyoming," and dubs the Cohen-Port affair "the Case of the Blond Model and the Malicious Blogger."
While Port contended that Cohen made the situation a bigger deal by going to the press—"Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it"—Cohen tells Dowd, "It’s there for the whole world to see. What happened to integrity? Why go out of your way solely to upset somebody else? Why can’t we all just be nice?" Dowd also learns that Cohen "may become an activist, and has been e-mailing with Tina Meier, mother of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old who killed herself after getting cyberbullied by the mother of a classmate who pretended to be a teen suitor named 'Josh.'"
Cohen is no longer going to sue Port for defamation (she had planned a $3 million lawsuit), but Port is still planning on suing Google for $15 million. And Port was supposed to appear on Good Morning, America on Monday, but the Daily News reports that "she was advised that a public apology could land her in legal hot water." A source explained that with an apology, "your defense of not having intention and malice has just gone down the drain... [Rosemary] knows now that she made an emotional - as opposed to a logical - decision."
And yesterday, NY Times Ethicist Randy Cohen tackled the topic of anonymous blogging (and commenting): "Has anonymous posting, though generally protected by law, become so toxic that it should be discouraged? It has. To promote the social good of lively conversation and the exchange of ideas, transparency should be the default mode. And that goes both for lofty political discourse and casual comments on Amazon."