This was a rather interesting story that made headlines this week. And it really got me thinking about marriage, divorce, relationships, blogging and what’s off limits, if anything.
Meet Anthony Morelli, from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He used to be married to Allison Morelli. The two had a bitter divorce and child custody battle in 2007 (they have two children, ages 10 and 12).
Anthony decided to start an anonymous blog, called “The Psycho Ex Wife.” He described the blog as being “the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband’s new partner.” He further said, “We hope that by sharing this story, we will effect change in the divorce cartel. We don’t sugarcoat issues, although we do try to protect the innocent. You will read actual e-mails, transcripts, false child abuse charges, and custody evaluations, the result of over $80,000 in legal fees (not including the psycho ex wife’s legal bills) and 4-years of litigation.” The blog was an immediate success and was drawing in 200,000 visitors per month. Morelli was even selling advertising on it.
So, what’s an example of what Morelli said about his ex-wife? “She’s on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time…drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn’t stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.”
Now, even though he was blogging anonymously, somehow, Morelli’s ex-wife, Allison, found out about the web site. Litigation followed and a judge ordered Morelli to shut down the blog. Family Court Judge Diane Gibbons said Morelli’s blog went “beyond venting to outright cruelty.” Now Morelli has fired back - hiring attorney Kevin J. Handy, who said that the judge’s order “is a classic example of an overly broad and unenforceable prior restraint on free speech.” Morelli has also launched “Save The Psycho Ex Wife.”
Whether you’re married, in a relationship, a blogger or not, I suspect you’ll have an opinion on this one. Do you have a First Amendment right to disparage your ex online? And should you be disparaging your ex-wife online during the divorce, while also fighting for custody? Did the judge overreact? And is the Internet fair game to say what you want?