All I wanted to do was post a link on Twitter to Bridget Bittman’s GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help with legal fees arising from her defamation lawsuit against Megan Fox (no, not the actress), Kevin DuJan, and Dan “SafeLibraries” Kleinman. (Story here, complaint here) GoFundMe has a Twitter button on the page so you can share it easily. Simple, right?
Oh, if it were, that would be the end of the story.
“That’s odd, I thought.” I didn’t think much of it till I waited for that nubulous “later” and tried again. Nope. I related my observations on my Twitter feed where my friend Andrea suggested a bit.ly link and see if that worked. It accepted the tweet, but when I clicked on the link to make certain that it worked, I got this message.
“Huh? What the hell is that?”
Whether you click on the original GoFundMe link shortener or the bit.ly address, you get the same ominous message as above. Hell, if you try to tweet or click on any of the links on the GoFundMe account, it gives the same error messages in both instances. (Thanks again to Andrea for discovering that.) I guess there are some ongoing fraud concerns for some of the campaigns, but I can honestly say that it’s not the case when it comes to this particular GoFundMe campaign.
That frustration has lead me to write this post.
I’ve been following the ongoing harassment of the Orland Park Public Library and its employees since it started in October 2013. Harassment is the best term for this ongoing campaign against the library because of the manner in which the rhetoric has been carried out. For myself, I am happy to protect the rights of individuals and groups who want to speak, leaflet, and protest for their cause; free speech is a great cornerstone of society and a principle of the library world. I’ll even stand up for mockery of public officials, even though unkind words and names were something they told us not to use back in kindergarten. Personally, I’m pretty liberal when it comes to putting limits of speech, even in some of the more dubious gray areas.
But it crosses a line (many, in fact) to engage in the level of character assassination that has been endured by staff at the Orland Park Public Library. I’ve seen some of the behavior listed in the lawsuit for myself as it unfolded; I’ve read the insinuations about the personal lives of the Orland Park Public Library staff. It’s simply grotesque and wholly outrageous in content and character.
Furthermore, in what can only be called “attrition via FOIA”, Fox and DuJan have cost the library over $125,000 in legal fees fulfilling their requests. I went through the Village of Orland Park’s online FOIA records and found twenty six requests that were readily identifiable as being related to this ongoing debacle starting in October 2013. Here’s a link to a Google Drive folder containing screencaps of all the requests so you can read through them yourself. There are two worth highlighting.
It’s the scenic route to a main theme: that the library is operating as a adult business by charging a fee to use the internet which in turn allows men to view pornographic material. It’s just a masterpiece of the ironic phrase, “short story long”. I can’t help but admire the longform trolling here.
This second picture is the request that interested me the most.
The term “SassyPlants” (top paragraph) caught my eye; it appears in the complaint filed by Bittman.
It’s not ironclad, but it’s really hard to ignore the timing of the Facebook page and the request, the email associated with the FOIA request being one of the defendants, the use of the term “SassyPlants” in the request, and the juvenile use of Bittman’s pictures on the page’s profile and photos. I mean, REALLY HARD to ignore.
As for Fox and DuJan, I don’t what else to say but I will let them speak for themselves. Fox believes that what people described as dragons were actually dinosaurs. DuJan believes that Obama is secretly gay. I really can’t compete with that.
As for Dan Kleinman, well, that’s another story for another blog post. All I’ll say for now is that his attempts to connect his lawsuit plight with that of #teamharpy have been disgraceful and utterly contemptible.
However, this blog post is not about them; it’s about helping Bridget.
The most important thing and the entire purpose for this blog post is to encourage everyone to assist Bridget Bittman with her legal costs. I’ve donated because no library staff member deserves to be bullied and harassed, especially to the extreme lengths taken to violate her personal privacy. Please do consider giving what you can. Let’s raise the remaining $6,500 and send a message that the library community stands together in the face of this petty and vile conduct.
Let’s do this.