Eric Posey as Mona Liza Million
Eric Posey as Mona Liza Million at the

A drag performer was jubilant on Friday after a court ordered a blogger to pay him over $1 million in damages for defamation.

Eric Posey, based in Post Falls, Idaho, performs as a drag queen named Mona Liza Million.

He launched legal action against blogger Summer Bushnell in September 2022. Bushnell, who posts far-right tirades online, falsely claimed Posey exposed himself to a crowd, including children, during a Pride event in June 2022.

As proof, Bushnell posted a doctored video with Posey’s crotch area blurred out. She claimed the blurred area covered Posey’s “fully exposed genitals.”

Police investigated. They found that at no point did Posey show his genitals and the blurring was unnecessary. However, anyone who viewed Bushnell’s video would not have known this and might likely have believed her.

Posey said he subsequently faced death threats and harassment. The video was reposted by other accounts and fueled anti-drag hatred across the US.

Unaminous decision

A jury at Kootenai County District Court in Coeur D’Alene unanimously found Bushnell guilty of defamation. It ordered her to pay $926,000 in compensatory damages.

The jury also said Bushnell should pay a further $250,000 in additional punitive damages because Posey’s attorney proved that Bushnell knew her allegations were false when she made them or were with “reckless disregard” for the truth.

The Pride event, in Coeur d’Alene City Park, made headlines in June 2022 but not because of Posey’s three performances on stage. Thirty-one members of the white nationalist, far-right Patriot First group, were arrested for gathering near the event wearing masks and balaclavas. Police believe they intended to riot and disrupt the event.

Following the arrests, Bushnell posted a video saying, “Why did no one arrest the man in a dress who flashed his genitalia to minors and people in the crowd?

“No one said anything about it, and there’s video. I’m going to put up a blurred video to prove it.”

That’s when she posted the video, defaming Posey in the process.

Eric Posey bursts into tears and thanks supporters

As the jury delivered its verdict, Posey burst into tears. He hugged his legal team and friends.

“The judicial system did what needed to be done,” he said afterward.

As he left court, he shook hands with some of the jurors. One said to him, “I’m so sorry you went through this.”

According to the Coeur D’Alene Press, Bushnell hurried out of the courtroom, expressionless.

Don't forget to share:

Discover more

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated