Spotsy Wire Issued ‘Cease and Desist’ Order

Demands include removal of “all defamatory publications you have authored, repeated, or otherwise disseminated in an online forum, including on social media or news sites.”

by Adele Uphaus
MANAGING EDITOR AND CORRESPONDENT

A “cease and desist” letter went out in February to the anonymously-run website and Facebook page The Spotsy Wire, demanding that it stop making “false and defamatory publications” concerning former Riverbend High School coach Theo Marcus.

The letter was sent on February 15 from Kaiser PLLC, which is representing Marcus, to the Spotsy Wire, care of Perfect Privacy, LLC, the Florida-based corporate identity for Network Solutions, a company that provides opportunities for individuals to own a domain name while hiding their identity.

“We write regarding your false and defamatory publications (including re-publications), including allegations that Mr. Marcus has had inappropriate communications or contact with [a member of the Riverbend varsity swim team],” the letter states. “These attacks have no basis in reality. Even though you knew these allegations to be false (or you otherwise acted with reckless disregard for the truth of such statements), you participated in a campaign to smear and defame Mr. Marcus. These unfounded allegations also constitute defamation per se.”

The letter lays out the events leading to the December 20 swim team meeting at the high school, which the Advance has reported on here, here, here, here, and here.

It then points to posts made by the Spotsy Wire on January 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, and 24. Some of these posts published emails sent to School Board members and to Riverbend athletic director Jesse Lohr and former principal Xavier Downs from the parent of the student-athlete, “all of which included false and defamatory statements.”

The letter then demands that the Spotsy Wire “cease and desist making defamatory claims about Mr. Marcus, (2) preserve and retain all documents relating to Mr. Marcus; (3) remove any and all defamatory publications you have authored, repeated, or otherwise disseminated in an online forum, including on social media or news sites; (4) retract any and all defamatory publications you have authored, repeated, or otherwise disseminated in an online forum, including on social media or news sites; and (5) affirmatively correct the record related to your defamatory publications.”

The letter also places the Spotsy Wire “on notice of your ongoing obligations to preserve documents related to Mr. Marcus’s claims for defamation or related causes of action stemming from false allegations that he acted improperly.”

As of Wednesday, the posts cited in the cease-and-desist letter have not been taken down from the Spotsy Wire’s website or Facebook page, but there have been no new posts.

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by Martin Davis
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF