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Ron Livingston’s Stupid Lawsuit to Stop Wikipedia From Calling Him a Fag


Ron Livingston, who ruined Sex and the City for nearly a season by playing whiny Jack Berger, is suing an anonymous Wikipedia author who keeps updating Livingston’s stub to say he’s not only A Gay, but A Gay who is dating someone named Lee Dennison. Livingston married a woman, Standoff co-star Rosemarie DeWitt, earlier this year, and professes to be happily heterosexual. But he’s losing sleep at night knowing Wikipedia keeps saying he’s a homo, so he’s filing libel, privacy invasion, and unauthorized usage of his likeness charges against the as-yet-unidentified Internet prankster. This lawsuit is stupid for so many reasons.

1) Courts have stopped ruling that being called gay — whether you are or are not — is defamation. Because, despite what Tom Cruise wants, allowing gay rumors to qualify as libel is akin to saying being gay is somehow ruinous. But ask Rupert Everett for a second opinion.

2) Livingston is suing an anonymous Internet lurker, who is probably some reject kid having a good laugh. Or maybe a spurned ex-girlfriend. Or ex-boyfriend! The lawsuit claims that the editing, which began in May, re-appears every time Livingston’s camp corrects the Wiki entry. Rather than identifying who keeps updating his Wiki page, what he probably actually wants is a court injunction to force Wikipedia to block unauthorized updates to his page. But Wikipedia is a website that enjoys wide legal protections because it allows anyone to edit its entries without moderation, which frees it from most defamation arguments. And unless the judge is a wild banshee who craps on the First Amendment, nobody sitting on a court bench wants to be the guy delivering government-sanctioned censorship by telling Wikipedia what it can and cannot publish.

3) Most stupidly, by filing a lawsuit, Livingston just guaranteed that his Wikipedia page will, soon enough, permanently include the rumors of his gayness because it will note that he filed a lawsuit to stop them, and that is an irrefutable fact, which Wikipedia’s independent editors will no doubt seek to include from here unto eternity.

On:           Dec 6, 2009
Tagged: , , , ,
    • Mike L.

      HAHAHA! I like reason #3, that will be awesome, and he’ll crap his pants lol!

      Dec 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jack

      Wow, she’s put on weight…

      Dec 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName

      There are so many ways to keep this allegation out of the article that do not involve courts. He can edit it himself (although shouldn’t per the site’s conflict of interest guideline), he can have the anonymous editor blocked permanently for vandalism, he can request his page be protected from edits by anonymous editors (which it currently is), he can report the vandalism to site administrators. Livingston comes off like such a douche most of the time on-screen. Who knew he was just playing himself?

      Dec 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rickey

      Good points!

      The computer the anon editor was using (which is clearly visible to anyone in the articles history) actually traces back to a halfway house for drug and alcohol treatment in London, so Livingston surely filed suit in the wrong jurisdiction!

      PS I’m not gay. either. (not that there’s anything wrong with that). lol

      Dec 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hector

      Why should we support the infantile efforts of one person to ruin the career and reputation of another?

      Forge the whole is gay bad thing, try and remember that these rumours make a mockery of his marriage and identity. Sure, being called gay is not itself a defamation, but is putting his sincerity in his marriage in question a good thing?

      We really are a bunch of hypocrites, we homos, we get all bent out of shape over words like fag because they denote something we are not, yet we deny another person the right to feel indignant about being labelled something he is not.

      Lies, my fellow faggots, it is about the lies, not the content of the lie itself.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sug Night

      Ron WHO?

      Dec 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fantabuloso

      Being gay is not “malicious”.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul

      I’m not so sure that there’s a problem here. It sounds like the complaint might not be about this sexuality, but about a relationship. One that would be defaming, simply because he’s married.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank

      Ditto Hector and Paul.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tylertime

      Livingston shouldn’t have to put up with that crap. How would any of us feel on here if we were on wikipedia and strangers could go and alter our info at anytime?

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito

      Never heard of Ron Livingston. But, now I know to avoid his work on TV and/or movies after he’s outed himself for being such a total D-bag.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce

      Rumored homosexual Ron Livingston should always be referred to in that way in the future because A) it is true B) he has been a homophobic jerk in his response to this. Ron Livingston, who is so widely believed to be gay that he actually filed a lawsuit regarding it, is not going to be hired by anyone in the future because gays aren’t going to want to see him and bigots aren’t going to hire someone dogged by gay rumors.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName

      Tylertime sez: “How would any of us feel on here if we were on wikipedia and strangers could go and alter our info at anytime?”

      Um, strangers CAN and DO alter info at any time; it’s not unique to celebrities. Individual editors’ personal user pages are vandalized all the time. We just know enough not to almost literally make a federal case about it. I find it hard to believe that any judge or jury is going to agree that the information’s inclusion in his article is defamatory, but even if it is, he would still need to show some harm was done to him by the vandalism. If he hadn’t had his little sissyfit probably 95% of the people who now know about this would never have heard of it.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName

      And no one’s suggesting that Livingston should have to deal with it, just that the manner by which he has chosen to do so is ridiculous.

      Dec 6, 2009 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Don

      who kinda cares? esp. this ron guy shouldn’t.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      QUEERTY states, “Courts have stopped ruling that being called gay — whether you are or are not — is defamation.” … which is irrelevant to the case – the person in question is married and by claiming that he has a boyfriend, they are claiming that he is cheating on his wife. If he isn’t cheating, he has a legitimate reason to sue – the only question is whether the scumbags can be identified. I might add that he’d have an equal right to sue if he had married a man and someone printed allegations that he had a boyfriend or girlfriend on the side.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 2:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • juoking81

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      Dec 7, 2009 at 3:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alex

      Anyone that thinks Wikipedia is a legitimate source for anything is a fool. A website that allows anyone to edit anything is useless.

      I’m not sure who I despise more: Livingston for making this an issue or the lawyer that took this case. Either way, both parties are examples of frivilous lawsuits.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 5:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcus

      I wish David Ehrenstein was here. I wonder if he has some scoop we don’t know about.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 5:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • simon

      Maybe he’s bi. If he’s happily married to a woman and has an active sex life with her, he’s at least bi.

      In any case, I find it slightly offputting when people use the word “gay” as a label that confines people. I don’t mind people using it to describe themselves but I hate it when they use it to describe others, especially those they don’t know very well.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 6:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • meltelly

      lol great article..Wikipedia is on the wane. I just heard a radio report that they’re volunteers have plummeted in numbers. I love that (and this) website, though….Ron, nobody cared until you crowed.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gary

      Maybe he’s just a straight guy who’s tired of being bothered by some crazy guy – if any of you had a crazy woman going around telling everyone you were in love and going to be married, etc you’d want her stopped too.

      Because he’s straight he’s required to endure a stalker indefinitely?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RomanHans

      > We really are a bunch of hypocrites, we homos, we get
      > all bent out of shape over words like fag because they
      > denote something we are not, yet we deny another
      > person the right to feel indignant about being labelled
      > something he is not.

      We don’t like being called “fags” because it denotes “something we are not”? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard today, and I watched Good Morning America.

      Is it crazy to wish our judicial system made sense? They shut down peer-to-peer music-download websites like Kazaa because these sites provided a PLACE for illegal activity. Yet it’s cool for Wikipedia to provide a PLACE for slander? Can anybody explain a motivation for this that doesn’t include the phrase “Because the music industry can buy its own rules”?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PootieTang

      who is this dude?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      Hmm, if the rumor was true I might actually watch that crap new show he’s on.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName

      Because the law governing copyright is not the same as the laws governing free speech and web publishing, therefore the two areas of law are not reliant on each other and will naturally evolve separately and distinctly?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeem

      @RomanHans: Wikipedia provides the place for people to post pretty much any type of information, laudatory or defamatory or someplace between. Kazaa (et al.), on the other hand, had few legitimate uses. There are also significant legal distinctions between libel and copyright infringement.

      More important in this case, however, is point #2 above. Livingston is suing Wikipedia for hosting a specific bit of text, but the Wikimedia Foundation had nothing to do with writing or replacing that text. Instead, Livingston should be suing the person who kept putting it back in – the one who’s actually responsible for the alleged libel.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      No. 19 · alex wrote, “Anyone that thinks Wikipedia is a legitimate source for anything is a fool. A website that allows anyone to edit anything is useless.”

      describes an experiment in which the accuracy of the Wikipedia was compared to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the results were comparable, with the Wikipedia having more errors, but not substantially more. It is not useless, at least not on technical topics that are not related to “hot button” political issues.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill

      Perhaps he needs to seek advice and a copy of Dianetics from Tom Cruise?

      Dec 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      No. 22 · meltelly wrote, “Wikipedia is on the wane. I just heard a radio report that they’re volunteers have plummeted in numbers.”

      I wouldn’t read to much into that by itself. Once you have a lot of topics covered (catching up with existing encyclopedias), there is less need for volunteers as you only need to add new material.

      Example: once someone writes a page on the use of Lagrangians in classical mechanics, there’s little point in fiddling with it beyond correcting any errors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_mechanics describes this topic – it isn’t going to change from year to year.

      Dec 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan

      I just broke up with him on a “POST-IT” note!

      Dec 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Salty Mission

      My thoughts and prayers go out to Ron in this terrible time!

      Dec 8, 2009 at 4:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • W

      From the complaint it sounds much less that the problem is with being labeled gay but the allegations of dating and presumably having relations with some one. (in this case a man)It is akin to saying he is stepping out on his new wife with another person. that could be detrimental and definitely malicious, as it harms his image (its paints him as an adulterer) and it could cause him marital troubles. (the same as if it was posted that he was dating another woman, its the fact that he is being said to date a specifically named person)
      From the article “who keeps updating Livingston’s stub he’s not only A Gay, but A Gay who is dating someone named Lee Dennison”
      Its the inclusion of a name that could and should give his suit some ground.

      Dec 8, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Superman

      Hold up! Ron Livingston? I thought that was a photo of Alec Baldwin with brown contacts.

      Dec 9, 2009 at 12:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • uschoice

      Who the hell is Ron Livingston and why should even care?

      Dec 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony

      I would file a lawsuit. Nobody wants people thinking that they are gay. It can ruin your life.

      Dec 28, 2009 at 2:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony

      Only a gay person wouldn’t recognize him from that awesome movie, swingers. Duh. Good soundtrack, too.

      Dec 28, 2009 at 2:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Birdzilla

      What a pathetic whiiny little wussietard he would make PEE WEE HERMIN look like HE-MAN

      Jan 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Klarth

      This is irksome. I can’t believe people don’t understand that this isn’t appropriate. It’s really not about us at all. It’s probably some troll doing it for the LULZ.

      I agree, though, that responding as he did only makes the sitch worse, just like it does online. Hugh Jackman puts up with some degree of the same crap, and he basically stated that he and his wife were very happy, and he was just a friend, not family. Other than that, he doesn’t seem to make a big deal about it, so I guess people don’t bother harassing him over it anymore.

      That said, I respect that Ron is sick of this shit, and wants it to stop. Yes, it’s fail that “gay” is a slur, but that’s the fault of society in general, not Livingston specifically. It is not bigoted of him to want his wikipedia page to accurately reflect his life, without any incorrect info that could affect him negatively.
      It would still be incorrect (as far as we know, he’s straight) even in a world where homosexuality wasn’t such a big deal. And the fact that we don’t live in such a world makes it an even bigger deal.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert Walker

      I think that anybody starting out with “Ron Livingston, who ruined Sex and the City for nearly a season by playing whiny Jack Berger,” should never be taken seiously. I fact, in my humble opinion, anyone willing to say anything remotely similar to the trash statement above, should be shunned by all.

      Aug 8, 2011 at 9:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sara

      @Fantabuloso: It is malicious when it is misleading hence damaging.

      Jul 25, 2012 at 11:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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