Hunter Moore’s ‘Fortunes’ Threatened by Self-Imposed Legal Misfortunes

Revenge kingpin Hunter Moore, a self-proclaimed “millionaire,” has been hit by two default judgments after failing to defend himself in two lawsuits against him.

The first involves Storage Wars celebrity Brandi Passante, who sued Moore for posting a video that Moore asserted was a sex tape of Passante.  Her complaint (PDF), filed in the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, asserted causes of action for trademark infringement, privacy torts, defamation, and consumer fraud, alleging that Moore’s video was false and designed to trade upon her commercial likeness.  Passante also sought and received a preliminary injunction requiring Moore to remove the video.

Moore’s response to the suit and injunction was to send Passante’s lawyer a picture of his penis (NSFW, obviously) in lieu of hiring a lawyer to defend his considerable ‘ass’ets.  This well-considered legal strategy went predictably: Passante convinced the judge to hold Moore in contempt for disobeying the injunction.  Moore, faced with the prospect of being haled into California accompanied by U.S. Marshals armed with a bench warrant, quietly removed the video from his website.

Moore has since remained quiet publicly about the suit.  While a clerk’s entry of default has been entered against him in the case, Passante’s lawyer has informed the court that settlement negotiations are ongoing.  Negotiating with a plaintiff while you’re in default is an ideal bargaining position.  Bravo, Mr. Moore.

The second case is more interesting.

Gawker has a thorough rundown of the case, but the long and short of it is that afterJames McGibney and his Bullyville organization bought out Hunter’s revenge porn site, Hunter Moore lashed out on Twitter.  Among Moore’s ravings (the more offensive of which included a threat to ‘rape’ McGibney’s wife), he accused McGibney of being a “pedophile” because he thought that McGibney had bought the images from Moore’s site (he hadn’t).  How, exactly, that would make McGibney a pedophile while absolving Moore of that association is beyond me.

McGibney sued Moore for defamation in a Nevada state court.  Moore, despite his millions, ignored the lawsuit.

What’s funny is that this lawsuit wasn’t a sure shot.  Moore could have put up a fight.  He could have argued that nobody would have believed his ravings to be truthful statements of fact and that, rather, they were hyperbolic statements in an internet dispute.  Maybe the insinuation that McGibney goes to China to “rent children” wouldn’t qualify, but most were at least arguably hyperbolic.  And, of course, “but, your honor, nobody believes me, but you should” isn’t a fun argument to make.

But Moore didn’t make any argument.  This strategy also panned out predictably: he lost, to the tune of $263,169.50.

Moore may not have many assets.  Either he can’t afford a lawyer or just doesn’t care.  But he does have a significant web presence, including web sites and a Twitter account with over 150,000 followers.  Those aren’t worthless.  What matters most to Moore — attention from adoring fans — may soon be usurped from him.  And that is worth more than any judgment.

I reached out to Moore for comment on this post and received no response, which means I’m the equivalent of a judge now.

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