Several days ago, GoDaddy recieved a theatening email sent by Sue Scheff requesting that certain content she found offensive (attached to the email) be removed from fornits.com. Whether or not the content linked to constitutes “death threats” or “internet terrorism” is largely irrelevant (judge for yourself). Nobody I have talked to sees it as such. What is relavant is the fact that she lied several times in her email to increase the percieved gravity of the alleged offenses.
In the email, Sue Scheff claimed to have filed a police report with the Broward’s county sherrifs department in Florida. She included a case number. Since several of my posts were listed in her complaint, and others were worried about the matter, I decided to contact the Broward’s county sherrif’s department to explain the other side of the story.
On the first mention of “internet death threats” I was transferred to the civil division (which did not answer). Clearly they didn’t take the matter very seriously. Since Sue Scheff implied the matter was not civil, but criminal, I called back, explained a little bit more of the situation, and was transferred to the records department. I explained what had happened, briefly, and gave over the case number (W505031987).
The woman who I talked to seemed surprised, and explained that it did not fit the format for any case number. She also explained that the digits “05″ would mean that the case would have to been filed in 2005. We tried several different combinations of common letters or numbers that could have been mistaken. Nothing made sense to her. Upon further research on the Browards county sherrifs department’s website, I came to the conclusion that Sue Scheff had never, in fact, filed a police report.
This leads me to believe that her other claims, such as contacting the FBI, were also false. (although I am not concerned enough to check, given Sue Scheff’s history of not telling the truth). 20/20 was also contacted, and although the matter was not followed up on, the person who was talked to seemed to have no knowledge of any appearance of Sue Scheff on any upcoming episode of the show.
This whole matter has caused a great deal of trouble for the technical staff of Fornits (who work on a volunteer basis), requiring many to take time out of their personal lives and cancel important plans in order to move Fornits to a less litigious country (Canada).Given that these claims were relatively easy for me to verify as false, I find Godaddy’s response more than a little upsetting:
“Please be aware Go Daddy reserves the right to terminate Services if Your usage of the Services results in, or is the subject of, legal action or threatened legal action, against Go Daddy or any of its affiliates or partners, without consideration for whether such legal action or threatened legal action is eventually determined to be with or without merit.”
What this essentially means is that Sue Scheff is willing to spread known falsehoods about other people to willfully damage their reputations, personal lives, and suppress their ability to tell their side of the story. Sadly, it also means that the United States has apparently become so litigious that providers of internet services are willing to participate in this censorship at the mere mention of legal action, regardless of merit.
Effectively, this means that although the government itself may not participate in censorship, private entities through litigation and companies such as Reputation Defender can and do.