Donald Trump’s catchphrase “You’re fired” should probably be changed to “You’re sued.” The Apprentice mogul recently decided to file a lawsuit against comedian Bill Maher after he joked that Trump was spawned from sex between a human and an orangutan. Trump then threatened to file an additional suit against Angelo Carusone, the organizer of an online boycott asking that Macy’s drop all ties with Trump.
Carusone launched his petition last year on the website SignOn.org. The petition itself urges Macy's Chairman, CEO and President Terry J. Lundgren to stop selling Trump's merchandise at Macy's stores due to what the petition calls "especially unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior."
According to the petition, that includes "sexist behavior" and the perpetuation of the "birther theory" that President Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States. The petition has so far gathered more than 683,000 signatures.
"Donald Trump does not reflect the 'magic of Macy's.'" the petition reads. "We urge you to sever ties with him.”
Carusone says that he is unfazed and unintimidated by Trump’s legal threat. "Donald Trump's attempt to silence me will not work. I've dealt with enough bullies and know better than to succumb to intimidation," Carusone said in an official statement.
"By threatening me, Trump is only reinforcing the point that we've been trying to get Macy's to recognize: that Trump's brand is consequence-free bullying and chicanery; it shouldn't be rewarded."
Alan Garten, Donald Trump’s lawyer, sent a letter to Carusone, saying that Trump will sue Carusone for damages of "not less than $25,000,000" if he continues his slanderous campaign.
"While you claim to be merely exercising or right to free speech, your egregious, pre-meditated and illegal conduct far exceeds anything protected by the Constitution," reads the letter, dated December 27.
"Rather than simply engage in lawful protest, you have apparently made it your mission to interfere with and intentionally disrupt Mr. Trump's longstanding and well-established business relationship with Macy's as well as his contractual dealings with other third parties through mob-like bullying and coercion."
The letter goes on to accuse Carusone of intentionally disseminating misinformation about the extent of his support, calling Carusone's public backing "marginal at best."
Carusone's attorney, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, responded to Garten's letter with his own correspondence in January. "Your letter repeatedly asserts, without any factual basis, that Carusone has exaggerated the extent to which members of the public have endorsed his boycott effort; you also contend, again without being specific, that Carusone casts Trump in a false light," Levy's letter reads.
"There is a well-established First Amendment right to advocate a boycott over policy-related objections ... I have no reason to believe that there is a tort of exaggerating the public support for a political campaign," Levy continues. "If there were such a tort, I imagine that most candidates for public office, no doubt including your client, would be liable at one point or another."