Blogger Smackdown

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?

anthony-and-allison-morelli          the-psycho-ex-wife
Pictures courtesy of the New York Daily News and Family and Consumer Law — The Blog

  • Share/Bookmark

13 comments to Blogger Smackdown

  • So much for the first amendment.

  • Hum….Isn’t there still such a thing as slander?

  • NeoConDon

    Free speech is one thing, but slander is something else…I think the problem is that when this got out and people knew who it was is when it moved from free speech to slander. Luckily, the courts can take a look and decide.

  • grannynanny

    He should have let the sleeping dog alone and just got on with his life.Silence is golden.

  • Hal

    I don’t think the judge had the right to order the shutdown.

    If the husband is citing his opinion, how is it slander? While I agree that his comments might be overboard, as far as I can tell, he’s strictly citing his opinion.

    There are different ways to say something. I’m not a lawyer, but I always thought there was a certain latitude with blogs, so long as it was the author’s opinion and you didn’t edit people’s comments.

    Additionally, I refuse to believe that his ex-wife simply stumbled across this blog. He told someone (probably a buddy) and they leaked it out. I know several bloggers who continue to hide behind their web sites. It is possible.He just got stupid.

    But I still say let him say what he wants and let people read it if they want.

  • Oh what an interesting topic because I talk shit about people on my blog all the time :) HA Ha. Okay maybe that is mean. I’m NOT an anonymous blogger and my family knows I blog but I do keep their names out of it. I don’t nickname people but I’ll use their initial.

    While I am a huge fan of the 1st Amendment I’m also against slandering people online. I’d rather talk crap to them face to face. I think the problem this guy had was when the writer of the blog was found out to be him and his ex wife caught wind of it. It is no longer a “faceless” person he is talking about online but a real person that people know. While she might be as big and as ugly as Jabba the Hut it can be considered slander/hateful/bullying…and we all know about the new laws about cyber bullying.

  • CC, thanks for sending me the link. Ugh..sticky situation. I think free speech covers a lot of territory but it runs against the slander/defamation circumstances. If everything he said is 100% accurate, it is free speech. Otherwise (Jabba comment) the judge is going to pick it apart. And the number of people writing blogs about their ex spouse seems to be growing, growing, growing so the issue (and how it is handles judiciously) will continue to morph.

  • The Constant Complainer

    Since they’re attorneys, I was dying to hear their opinions on this one. So I asked both JennyMac and South Florida Lawyers if they’d consider commenting.

    They never disappoint. Click through and check out their blogs as well!

  • SFL

    If I were his attorney, I’d have him shut the blogs down while the divorce is proceeding and focus on the litigation.

    Whether it’s free speech or slander, it’s not exactly the smartest move a litigant could make in these circumstances.

  • I agree that it’s free speech. However. Their kids can read. That to me just makes it not OK.

  • This shit happens to me all the time. I get disowned and taken back into my husband’s family on a weekly basis. And if our new neighbors ever figure out I’m a blogger, I am SO SCREWED!

    Let him write. He didn’t say her name. He said how he felt. He didn’t tell the kids to read it.

  • Jen

    I feel bad for the kids. Since it was anonymous no one would have ever known unless he let it out somehow…which means it was no longer anonymous and slanders the ex-wife. What a dumb ass.

  • Free speech and all that, opinions, etc, but harassment, hate blogs, slander is something that’s not taken lightly, second of all, if I were the attorney, I would flat out put a stop to any blogging on either end.

    I talk about my ex on my blog, but I never use names, places, or references, saying he is a wife beater (true), what really defines slander verses free speech, there is a divide, I need to read the story to get a grasp of what really happened before I can really comment. Having been bullied, slandered online, stalked and harassed there were legal resources available to me, plus, if he REALLY didn’t want the wife reading it, or finding out (two sides to every story) he shouldn’t have given the address to family or friends, if the blog was truly therapeutic, but the way in which (it seems) he bashed his wife publicly is really tacky.