from the don't-do-this dept
Various health fads come and go. One particular one that I guess has been around for a bit is the idea of drinking “green smoothies.” This was made popular by Robyn Openshaw, who is called “The Green Smoothie Girl” and has written a bunch of books, all around her views on approaches to losing weight and health, including the aforementioned green smoothies, and various “detox” plans. There’s also something about “vibrations,” but that’s about as deep into the weeds as I was going to get on her views on staying healthy.
I have no opinion on whether or not any of that stuff works or is good for you (do your own research!) but it does appear that the Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw, is not at all happy about negative reviews. People who merely posted on Facebook saying that Openshaw’s claims were “unproven” among other things, started receiving threatening messages demanding that these mildly negative reviews be taken down or they would face lawsuits:
Is it actually slander/bullying to post a negative review of a company on FB? I got this very long message on FB Messenger from a person who isn't even a lawyer…I have never cyber-bullied anyone, so I am inclined to take no action whatsoever. Any advice gladly taken pic.twitter.com/83fPyLvRaO
— Sarah Jane (@nurse_nomad) December 6, 2019
Someone at least claiming to work for Robyn was contacting people with ridiculously baseless threats. The threats are so ridiculous as to be laughable:
Sarah Jane, my employer is Robyn Openshaw, Influence Brands, and GreenSmoothieGirl.
You have until midnight tonight, to remove your negative reviews on her various companies. We have screenshotted your slander and cyberbullying and will engage our attorneys and PI’s to send you a FORMAL C&D, should you not wish to comply, as well as file a lawsuit against you which will include damages to her….
… as we work together to gather information and file complaints, as well as court costs, in our state (not yours.)
As soon as your name is in the lawsuit for damages, slander, and cyberbullying with charges in all applicable case law, we will hold you accountable for those charges as lon gas it takes. You can probably infer that this will be very expensive.
Most of that is word salad, with a few nonsense legal terms tossed in for shits and giggles. But, it’s a nice touch to flat out admit in the threat to file a SLAPP suit that you’re doing it because it will “be very expensive.” Good to admit that that’s your intention upfront, right?
I would imagine this will end up in the media as well.
You don’t say…
Should you choose to delete all your false reviews, we will not subpoena Facebook for all your information and pursue legal action against you. We will just watch your actions in case you do any more, and at that point we will take ALL of the evidence to the authorities.
The authorities? I love legal threats that don’t know the difference between civil complaints and criminal charges, but, hey. It all sounds vaguely about the law.
There are some true classics in here.
I highly recomment you take quick action to remove the negative reviews, as they legally qualify under many laws/statutes as slander and bullying, and the law holds you accountable for the financial and other losses businesses incur due to your actions–even the time we employees spend having to document your actions and pursue you, will be collected in a court judgment against you.
That review must have been pretty bad, right? Nope:
All I said was they make unproven claims. No rude language.
— Sarah Jane (@nurse_nomad) December 6, 2019
Since then First Amendment lawyer Ari Cohn has been cataloging more and more insanity around these threats. We’ve heard of some unique interpretations of Section 230 in the past, but this might be the craziest:
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE:
She isn't liable for what she says on her pages, but YOU might be! pic.twitter.com/mMFg9rNaoV
— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) December 6, 2019
That includes an image first of someone asking for info on a commenter be sent to Openshaw so “he can be served legally and peacefully” and then shows Openshaw stating the following, which appears to likely be her mangling how Section 230 works:
Lannette Syck also attorney confirms I am not liable for what I say here. This is my page.
They are the ones out of bounds. They come on my page and the pages of my business.
And, of course, it quickly came out that they were sending these kinds of messages to others who wrote negative reviews as well. And, as we all know by now, you’re not doing vexatious legal threats correctly if you don’t eventually get around to doing the RICO. And I think we can say mission accomplished on that one:
There’s even more—she’s claiming RICO! pic.twitter.com/YDE80YF2bz
— Eric (@NamfohCire) December 7, 2019
That’s a message, direct from Openshaw’s account (rather than an “employee”) saying:
She wasnt a commenter. She committed felony tortious interference and RICO.
let her know it’s slander and tortious interference when I can prove she’s not a customer or follower and she was told to go attack my page by pharma mafia troll.
Clueless trolls don’t know c&d is a warning.
Should they want to remove the fraud review before they get served.
They can disregard, their choice, and get served.
All the fake reviews posted within 48 hours of supertroll BKM telling others to attack my page, plus tagging her troll friends right here on my page to go post fake reviews.
We have all the screen shots.
Felony convictions are a matter of public record and can keep you from getting a job or a loan.
Felony convictions? For posting a mildly negative review? That’s not how any of this works.
Also, she seems to think that violating Facebook’s terms of service is the same as violating the law. And cyber consultants something something something.
— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) December 7, 2019
That’s another message from Robyn’s own account:
[Redacted], would you like to take your troll posts down–on your page, and the comment on mine–or would you prefer my cyber security specialist serve you at your work with my attorneys’ C&D and lawsuit for defamation and violating Facebook’s bullying policies, and you have violated both–which are here:
* descriptions of photos that degrade someone’s appearance or character.
* targeting someone with threats
Your choice. Let me know by midnight tonight, because I have some legal actions to initiate tomorrow. If there is a cyber bullying lawsuit, we will seek all my legal and cyber consultant fees.
And apparently, RICO isn’t enough, because eventually, you need to take it up a notch. To terrorism.
That appeared to be a bit of an “airing of grievances” by Robyn with those who left negative comments, and includes this whopper:
My attorney will subpoena Facebook Monday so I can sue her for damages and engage Facebook to find her actual identity and any other fake profiles where she spreads hate speech and terrorism.
And there’s more. This time, a message from “Drew Millz.”
Well, the c&d is obviously informal, as it said, from a non attorney (who is talking to attorneys as she vets them for who is most qualified to sue the rolls doing damage to her business, harassing, and other cyber crimes).
And when the suits against those doing damage to her business are filed, they will of course all be based on actual law.
Well, phew. Actual law. Like the 1st Amendment? Might want to look that one up before suing over speech.
All of you can discuss at will but if you do damage to Ms Openshaw and her publishers’ properties or slander or harass you will face legal consequences.
Some will be served at home and some at work so be mindful if you are the type of person to harm strangers’ IP and web properties.
Some of you have done it to many people and we are collecting that evidence to make this a larger order and TRO than just Ms Openshaw.
But no one sending the INFORMAL c&d claimed to be an attorney.
The informal c&d stated these options are being considered.
The legal team about to represent Ms Openshaw in these actions feel there is RICO justification for two of the supertrolls.
RICO justification? Informal C&Ds? This is just so much fun, I might have to go drink an orange smoothie to celebrate. Anyway, the informal cease and desist letters then turned into “draft” C&D letters, because that makes no sense at all. Also, they promise to drag the people they’re threatening to Utah to defend this, once again effectively admitting that this is vexatious.
There’s also a separate Twitter account that first claimed Openshaw was already sending subpoenas and also looking for a lawyer (i.e., sending subpoenas before having a lawyer?!?):
Robyn Openshaw, public figure THE #1 health site , is seeking a top attorney that specializes in cyber bullying. She has been very public that she is going to sue a number of the trolls & is already subpoenaing their info and says it will ALL be in public court of law record! thx
And when more knowledgeable people pointed out how silly this claimed, the responses got worse:
She didn’t have to get any of the information subpoenaed. Asking the universe will provide. This is going to be an epic case that will set a precedence and she said these trolls are going to pay. With more than money.
Asking the universe will provide.
If her knowledge of health and wellness is at the same level as her knowledge of the law, well, I’d maybe stay away from green smoothies.
The threats on Facebook have continued — with the latest coming from a brand new profile under the name “Jeff Johnson” claiming that Openshaw doesn’t want to harm anyone’s right to free speech — but somehow calling out her bogus threats is an attack on her free speech. Because, of course:
That one also includes some fun insults about “under employed lawyers” and warnings about more lawsuits.
I get that people not fawning over you may feel bad. And that negative reviews may hurt. But hitting back with bogus legal threats, then doubling down with even more threats that are in no way reflective of the actual law, is no way to go through life.