|I bet you $5,000,000 dollars.|
Many have heard that Donald Trump is suing comedian Bill Maher for saying on the Jay Leno show that he’d pay Trump $5,000,000 if he could prove he wasn’t fathered by an orangutan. Clearly this was a joke and in response to Trump's equally silly $5,000,000 bet that Obama couldn't provide his university transcripts. While this has generated some water cooler laughs because both men are wealthy idiots, Angelo Carusone isn't so lucky.
Angelo Carusone is the organizer of the Sign-On.org petition to get Macy's to drop Donald Trump. This was done in response to the Donald's recent spate of attacks on President Obama, however the petition lists a number of perfectly legit reasons. The other reasons are that he is a sexist pig that belittles women, he complained about Obama sending jobs to China while at the same time his entire product line is made there, and he is a Global Warming denier. The petition reads as follows:
Macy's: Donald Trump does not reflect the "magic of Macy's." We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy's says it has a strong obligation to be "socially responsible" and that "actions speak louder than words." Indeed. It's time to act.
Donald Trump's attorney, Alan Garten, has sent a letter to Angelo Carusone, who organized the petition urging Macy's to drop Trump, stating that Trump will sue him for damages "not less than $25,000,000" if he continues his campaign.
'While you claim to be merely exercising or right to free speech, your egregious, pre-meditated and illegal conduct far exceeds anything protected by the Constitution,' the letter says. 'Rather than simply engage in lawful protest, you have apparently made it your mission to interfere with and intentionally disrupt Mr. Trump's longstanding and well-established business relationship with Macy's as well as his contractual dealings with other third parties through mob-like bullying and coercion.'
This is a long held tactic used by trans-national corporations like Shell to silence critics.The way it works is very similar to how patent trolls operate. The big company or in this case Trump, has tons of money to spend on high priced connected lawyers, average people like Angelo Carusone do not. With patent trolls the idea is that a company would do the math and figure it is cheaper to settle than to try and fight it even if the are 100% in the right. In Trump's case he is hoping the prospect of bankruptcy will frighten people into never saying anything bad about him ever again, even if it is 100% true.
Right now this tactic is mainly reserved for [in real life] away from the keyboard protests, however if Trump is able to set a precedent it could have a chilling effect on free speech in America. People like Koch brothers already spend millions funding front groups like Freedom Works, instead they may decide to just start a plague of frivolous lawsuits to silence critics on the Internet.