A Los Angeles judge granted James Woods the opportunity to unmask a Twitter user who implied that the “Casino” actor is a cocaine addict. Woods is accusing the anonymous tweeter of defamation and is seeking $10 million in damages.
Anonymity has emboldened many internet users to write things they would otherwise never say in public. Woods is attempting to set a precedent that would remove that security blanket.
The actor became entangled in an online spot with the anonymous account @abelisted when Woods tweeted, “USATODAY app features Bruce Jenner’s latest dress selection but makes zero mention of Planned Parenthood baby parts market,” according to The New York Times.
“Cocaine addict James Woods still sniffing and spouting,” Abe List tweeted back. The two Twitter users descended into name-calling, with Abe List calling Woods a “joke” and “a ridiculous scum clown-boy," The New York Times reports.
Now Woods has filed a lawsuit against the Twitter handle, hoping to make the anonymous user’s name public record.
“Woods intends to unmask and reveal AL for the liar he is,” Woods’ lawyer Michael Weinstein wrote in a July 2015 court complaint. “AL’s reckless and malicious behavior, through the worldwide reach of the Internet, has now jeopardized Woods’s good name and reputation on an international scale.”
Abe List’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, countered that her client was clearly using hyperbole and that Mr. Woods has a well-chronicled history of hurling offensive accusations and names on Twitter, recalling one time when Woods told someone to “put down your crack pipe.”
“Mr. Woods dishes it out, but he can’t take it,” said Bloom.
On Feb. 11, Los Angeles Judge Mel Red Recana ruled that Woods had established enough grounds for the case to proceed.
Woods has been criticized in the past for his controversial remarks on Twitter. On Feb 9, a former fan asked him why he had become so curmudgeonly, Western Journalism reports. “You used to be a good guy, what happened?,” user DoubleDownNow! tweeted at the actor.
“#Obama happened,” Woods tweeted in response.
The first person to ever be sued for defamation using Twitter was musician Courtney Love in 2010. She had accused her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes of being “bought off,” according to SPIN.
The charges were dismissed after a jury ruled there was no sufficient proof that Love was knowingly lying about Holmes.
If Woods has his way, Twitter users can be successfully sued for defamation.
"Twitter users beware: You are not above the law," Woods stated.