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.