Judge allows James Woods to sue his anonymous Twitter abuser

james woods twitter troll legal battle
The Internet makes many feel like they are untouchable. And sharing the same social networks with celebrities and public figures gives us unprecedented access to them. Some users, however, misuse the likes of Twitter and Facebook to attack and abuse people they’ve never even met.

An ongoing legal dispute between actor James Woods and a pseudonymous Twitter user could change all that by removing the shield of anonymity that online trolls hide behind.

The Oscar-nominated star of Salvador and The Hard Way is currently pursuing a defamation lawsuit against a Twitter user who Woods claims has been calling him a “cocaine addict.”

Woods did not take kindly to the comment. Not only does the actor want to expose his abuser’s identity, he is also also seeking $10 million worth of damages.

The accused — who has thus far maintained his anonymity by sending a lawyer to court on his behalf — goes by the name of Abe List (@abelisted) online, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, Twitter has declined to identify the individual to Woods’ lawyers on the basis of the First Amendment.

That could all potentially change now that presiding Judge Mel Recana has denied a motion filed by Abe List’s lawyers this week to strike the case. Consequently, Woods now has the go-ahead to continue with the lawsuit against Abe List with a view to unmasking his identity.

Woods himself is an extremely outspoken Twitter user, often using the platform to disseminate his conservative views on topics ranging from Barack Obama to Planned Parenthood.

Woods’ statements concerning the latter were central to the statement that kicked off the dispute between the two parties. Back in July 2015, Woods tweeted: “USATODAY app features Bruce Jenner’s latest dress selection, but makes zero mention of Planned Parenthood baby parts market.” To which List reportedly replied: “cocaine addict James Woods still sniffing and spouting.”

List’s tweeted response is now pivotal to the case. Woods’ lawyers have submitted a declaration from a linguistics professor at the University of Southern California who determined that most readers of “cocaine addict” would understand and interpret it to be a factual statement. Despite claims to the contrary from List’s attorneys — who insist that the tweet in question was not “meant to be taken literally” — the latest motion means that the defamation lawsuit can continue unabated.

In an ironic turn of events, List has set his Twitter account to private fearing online abuse as a result of the highly publicized case. Reports indicate that List is a Harvard-educated partner at an L.A.-based private equity firm.

“The cruelty of having one’s reputation sullied by an anonymous coward is agonizing,” Mr. Woods said in a statement provided by his lawyer. “Twitter users beware: You are not above the law.”

Movies & TV

Marvel’s streaming Loki series gets a plot summary and a showrunner

A Rick & Morty writer will oversee Marvel's Loki series for Disney Plus. Tom Hiddleston is expected to reprise his role for the show, while the series' premise offers a few hints as to how Loki might return from the dead.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon HQ, Guy Kawasaki, and when to buy a streaming stick

On Thursday's episode of Digital Trends Live, we discussed trending headlines like the latest news surrounding Amazon's new HQ plans to the Mars rover Opportunity. We also sat down with author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki to talk about his…
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Social Media

LinkedIn finally gets around to launching its own live video tool

Live video is coming to LinkedIn for businesses and individuals on the site. The livestreaming feature is launching in beta in the U.S. before rolling out to the entire community.