Defamation lawsuit (linked to accusations of inciting suicide) between two trans political commentators,

It is Erlick v. White (@EliErlick c. @BlairWhite), just filed today with the SDNY:

10. Ms. Erlick is a trans woman, activist and student.

11. Defendant White has a history of assaulting other trans people, as recognized by New York courts. “[S]since January 2017, White has intermittently created and streamed episodes of a video series titled ‘Triggering Tr[*]nnies’ containing derision of people who identify as ‘trans.’… In this court’s view, all of these comments can properly be described as ‘queer slurs’ because they were clearly intended to offend.” Straka v. Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Cmty. Ctr., Inc., 2020. NY Slip op. 32116 (NY Sup. CT. 2020).

12. In or about August 2022, Defendant White sent a private social media message to Ms. Erlick stating his (White’s) intention to make one of those videos about Erlick.

13. That message read: “Hey Eli, any statements about the sexual abuse allegations and/or your admitted plan to give drugs to children illegally? I’ll make a video about it. Thanks!”

14. Ms. Erlick responded in relevant part by providing a link to the response, inter alia linking to the full response, saying: “I wrote the response years ago before they [e.g. the person who made an accusation of sexual abuse] deleted his charges.”

15. Defendant White and Ms. Erlick exchanged several more messages before the conversation ended, indicating that Defendant White saw, or had the opportunity to see, the message described above.

16. As detailed below, Defendant White would go on to accuse Ms. Erlick of sexually assaulting and—most importantly, including in Defendant White’s own opinion—causing the death of the person (Danie) who made the accusation.

17. The link provided by Ms. Erlick to Defendant White directs the viewer to a Tumblr post authored and published by Ms. Erlick on August 5, 2016 and edited by Ms. Erlick in December 2018.

18. The top of the post, which can be seen immediately after clicking on the link, shows that Danie was alive.

19. Upon information and belief, Defendant White read and understood that Danie was alive.

20. Days is alive.

21. If Defendant White had undertaken even the most cursory diligence—let alone industry standard diligence—she might also have discovered
if only Danie were alive…

There’s more here. As I read the lawsuit, the specific statement that Erlick claims is defamatory was as follows:

Defendant White’s statements were false and defamatory in that they falsely stated that Danie had died, and a reasonable person would have concluded that Defendant White’s statements meant that Ms. Erlick caused that death.

That portion of the complaint does not list allegations of sexual abuse or “the existence of a legal drug trafficking scheme targeting minors” as defamation, although the rest of the complaint appears to deny those allegations as well.

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