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Don't Hug Cacti sends cease and desist to furry; alleges defamation

Edited by GreenReaper as of Wed 17 Feb 2021 - 18:33
Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (12 votes)

Disclaimer: This article will not take a side in this matter and is merely a publication of the events leading to the public conflict in question, thus falling under “Neutral Report Privilege”. People’s comments below are their own, and do not contribute to Flayrah’s position on any pending legal matter.

In the first week of February, furry twitter lit up as a furry fan by the name of Qutens posted a GoFundMe page to raise money for a legal defense against the fursuit creating business of Don’t Hug Cacti LLC. The LLC sent a cease and desist to Qutens that stems from the publication of witness testimony of alleged sexual misconduct behaviors of the business’s founder Lucky Coyote that was published in September of 2020 on the below tweet:


Preparations for possible court battle

Boozy Badger, a furry who happens to be an attorney, indicated that, while the cease and desist letter was not shared with the public, he has personally seen it and referred Qutens to legal consultation in preparations for a defense. The fundraiser which was posted on February 4th, had already met it’s $10,000 goal within 2 days of its posting.

The party to send the cease and desist on behest of Lucky Coyote is a law firm called Minc Law. The firm’s specialty is defamation cases, and has a long page going over how these function on a page called The Complete Guide to Defemation Law. Within it, there is the warning of litigation causing undue attention to the original defamatory statements, something known to the general public as the “Streisand Effect”.

Minc Law itself goes over this possibility in the aforementioned guide:

The Streisand Effect is a key consideration that defamation plaintiffs should keep in mind when filing a defamation suit, as it could ultimately render your defamation lawsuit ineffective before it even begins. Let us first explain how Barbra Streisand and the attempted suppression of a photograph paved the way for a critical pitfall for defamation plaintiffs to avoid.

The Streisand Effect refers to a viral phenomenon and PR disaster where famous singer and actress Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress aerial photographs of her Malibu home by suing the photographer behind them. However, instead of successfully suppressing and removing the images from popular photo-sharing website Pictopia.com, Streisand’s suit drew considerable attention and caused the images to go viral, resulting in the aerial photographs of her home being viewed more than 420,000 times.

The Streisand Effect is now a popular term used to describe situations involving the attempted suppression or removal of content, which accomplishes the exact opposite result and causes the information to receive widespread publicity and attention. In the context of the law, the Streisand Effect typically occurs after the filing of a frivolous and meritless lawsuit or sending of a cease and desist letter.

The Streisand Effect is even used as an aggressive defense tactic by prospective defamation defendants to draw viral attention to a matter so that a defamation lawsuit’s goals are rendered ineffective because the complete removal and suppression of content is impossible (or near impossible).

There are several ways to safeguard against you or your client’s online defamation issue going viral and falling victim to the Streisand Effect:

  • Narrowly describe the scope of claims and parties involved;
  • Do not cross the line from aggressive representation to bully;
  • Strive for confidentiality when applicable;
  • Research the website or ISP where the defamatory content is posted.

Defamatory online attacks and content can be a highly sensitive matter and there is a lot that can go wrong before and when filing an online defamation lawsuit, so it is of the utmost importance to make sure not to “poke the bear.”

The Streisand Effect

Furry community has its basis on the internet, which may be something that Minc was unaware of, so word spread pretty quickly of their letter. For better, or worse, furs are very quick to inform the internet as a whole about the conflicts they are dealing with rather than behind closed doors. So, it should be noted, the risk of the Streisand Effect occurring should be seen as almost a certainty if you are a lawyer taking on a furry client.

Not only did Qutens reach their fundraising goal within a few days, the over 90 page Google document of witness testimony of Lucky Coyote’s alleged misbehavior reached a point where Google Drive was indicating that tools and features were limited due to the amount of traffic that the document was receiving.

Fursuit creators were posting to social media that they would take on clients who had purchased Don’t Hug Cacti suits if they wished to have their features updated so that other furries would not tie them to a creator that would be seen as a fursona non grata. A noted irony here is that the previous time Flayrah covered Lucky Coyote was when she was offering to do tutorials on how to do facelifts to Wal-Mart Maskimal heads.

Some taking it to an extreme had started questioning those following Don’t Hug Cacti LLC on Twitter. In the spontaneous world of the internet, people are sometimes quick to judge instead of educating others on what they are judging them over and providing information. Furries are especially prone to this. While we live in a world of near instantaneous information, it can be easy to make quick judgement calls based on believing that others know what you know, but it’s important to note that no one is omnipresent.

But this does work both ways. While it may be tempting to file a lawsuit because you think everyone has heard the bad stories shared on the internet, pressing the issue to the legal stages may only ensure that more people know about them. Hopefully the Minc Law Firm informed their client of this risk before she went for it. Now that defense funds have been raised, it may be plausible that this defamation suit will go to court. And if so, some of the witnesses in the Google document may come forward to indicate that their stories were indeed true before the official proceedings to help the defense of the person who published their stories.

The case would certainly be a first for the fandom of defamation being pressed into the actual courts, and if it catches on, Minc may be seeing more clients yet. If any group of online users get obsessed over internet reputation, furries are certainly a target clientele.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3 (6 votes)

In some ways this might be a good thing. There's way too much of a call-out culture in the fandom (and a lot of modern culture in general) where there is little evidence beyond hearsay. It's a bit concerning how people are able to spread rumours and make accusations with no consequences and perhaps even more concerning how many people default to the assumption that accusations are true.

It remains to be seen whether or not any of these accusations are true but if they are, random posts on the internet are hardly the way to do something about them.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

When recently I was reporting on the controversy I started to have so many thoughts running in my mind, all of them going,

"Is the testimonies true?"
"Are the mostly anon, and named sources actually genuine ones?"
"Are the allegations true or not?"
"How is it impacting DHC, and their communities and customers at this point?"
"Looking at just how far this has spread, is it perfectly justifiable to hate on DHC without any confirmed information?"

And much more than that.

Within and outside of Twitter there's this ongoing growth of hatred for DHC arising from this controversy, and we heard not much confirmation from DHC, Lucky or Skuff, let alone any official confirmation or conviction and stuff regarding them.

It is a bit disconcerting to see this spreading just so far and wide when there is a lot of questionable elements present regarding legitimacy in this issue.

Your rating: None

It is contested, and Lucky Coyote is making a stand against the claims in the document, thus why they're going to bring it to the courts.

Given the Lucky is using the LLC as the vessel under which she is suing from, she may be showing damages in the form of lost fursuit sales/revenue.

Both sides look like they wish to fight it out in court, unlike the Corgi LLC v Lemonbrat case which was settled out of court.

Division: Chancery
Search By Case then enter the below into the three fields:
Year: 2018
Division: CH
Case#: 14309

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

They are good questions. To me the first three answers are "we don't know." The fourth one is almost certainly in a negative way, if not through sales, almost certainly through harassment. And the last one, I would say "absolutely not." Acting without confirmed information is just playing into conspiracies. If the accusations are false, then anything done negatively is completely uncalled for. If it is true, we should first have some sort of verified information not just rumours and accusations.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

As with many things in furry fandom, I don't think the trends happen in a vacuum.

In U.S. politic, the use of defamation lawsuits is going to become increasingly popularized as the Dominion voting machine story continue to have the company going after those who spread the unproven statements of the voting machines being fraudulent. They will probably point out how those very machines were used in Donald Trump's victory in 2016.

But the people are usually influenced by the behaviors of those at the top, and so I think defamation is going to be something that come up in courtrooms all across the country with much more frequency.

Your rating: None

For those interested in an in-depth look at a similar defamation case, you can go here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/RekietaLaw/videos

You can search the channel for 'Vic Mignogna' and see videos where a real lawyer talks about the Vic Mignogna defamation case. Vic Mignogna was accused by many of sexual assault in similar fashion to Lucky Coyote. The accusations in the document that qutens_ provided have similar character in that they are accusations made years ago, but no police reports were filed and no charges have been filed.

This Youtube channel has also provided videos of the public depositions of the plaintiff and two defendants along with commentary on them. qutens_ should have thought long and hard about posting that document as fact. If the case goes beyond just the Cease and Desist, it is highly likely that qutens_, Lucky Coyote and possibly others will be required to be deposed on video by the lawyers on both sides of this case.

If you want to see the depositions, search for 'deposition' in the channel. It is interesting to watch the legal process. It is also interesting to see the plaintiff remain calm under scrutiny and to see the defamers squirm in order to not incriminate themselves. It is hours long, but fascinating.

Your rating: None

The only way the testimonials will be admissible is if those making them are willing to testify and have their real names on record. Otherwise, Qutens could be in real trouble. Of course if the allegations are true, then Lucky may well not wish to have that sort of testimony on public record. It should be interesting to follow the developments....from a distance.

Your rating: None

I don't think a defamation lawsuit will require the people behind the accusations testify in order for them to be read, considering that's what the plaintiff is saying is defamatory

Your rating: None

No; but if a lawsuit is filed, the defendant might want them deposed in order to offer an effective defense.

There does not seem to be any disagreement over whether there are claims against DHC - just their accuracy. Truth is a defence, but it must be claimed and the other party will presumably have the chance to challenge it - they might want to gather proof via deposition.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

I'm not sure what the law is regarding repeating statements others made. It wouldn't surprise me if one part of the defense is most of what was said was not actually said by Qutens. They just repeated words of others. They may have to prove that. Once again, it will also likely depend on whether those testimonials are actually true or not. I'm betting it ultimately gets settled out of court. There's little chance that all those testimonials are false and just one of them entered as fact would basically make the case moot. Lucky's rep would be shot. DHC has a lot more to lose here than Qutens does.

Your rating: None

Qutens claimed that harm was done in the fundraiser. Not "allegedly". It claims to repeat things said by others but it's especially bad if not all of them are willing to testify. They can't win just by proving one true, they might need to prove the preponderance but they can lose by having one proved a lie. The callout looks poorly planned for making a case for court. Padding it with length is a good way to lose.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Good point about Qutens making claims themself. The only part of the original document I read was the "zoophilic tendencies" section which at the time consisted mostly of Qutens's own editorializing, analysis, and claims about "dog paw tattoos" that I wasn't able to independently verify in any way (the closest I got was an equally-unlikely urban legend-style claim about certain human sex positions).

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

If people making the accusations won't testify, the statements can be characterized as baseless. Been there done that (gathered testimony, done depositions and won a judgement against a case that failed.) This would be civil court with the preponderance standard and it could require a lot of proof that may not appear.

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (5 votes)

The problem is that Lucky and DHC by association loses big time if just one of those allegations is found to be credible regardless of the outcome if it goes to trial. Their reputation would be shot. At this point, it's already a loss for DHC. A lot of people aren't waiting for a trial and believe the allegations. The original post was actually fading off people's radar somewhat. Now it's front and center again as well as the whole attempting to silence Qutens which makes them DHC even more guilty in a lot of people's eyes. They can't win. Even if it goes to trial and they prevail, it won't help them. Qutens already needed crowdfunding to hire a lawyer. She has no assets. So they win, the worst case is an eventual bankruptcy, and many wouldn't care what the verdict was, they've already made up their minds. If it were purely a business decision for the good of DHC, the best bet would probably be for Lucky to leave the company (at least for a while). I don't see that happening. My bet is this settles out of court with the settlement under non-disclosure.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I'm not a lawyer but funded and won a defamation lawsuit with years of persistence. The above comment is the kind to disregard unless it comes from a lawyer.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (4 votes)

After years of persistence you said. Was it against an individual with no actual assets? Did you ever actually get paid a penny? Did anyone even remember the original statements by the time the case was over? Neither party in this case likely has the resources for a drawn out legal battle even if that's what either wanted. Winning won't be much of a win if the general consensus is still that Lucky is a scumball. My prediction stands. This will never go before a judge or jury.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I was a whistleblower in a matter that led to $58 million claimed against a supposed $125 million investor project that ended with a fraud judgement. They sued to shut me up and expected it would be a quick defeat by powerful people on someone with no resources, I defended and sued back and won. It's clear you don't have any information about this case to share and anyone who wants some can wait to hear from the sources. Spreading predictions about these things isn't a good idea.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

It's clear you are a total idiot who doesn't recognize that the facts being different make a huge difference. DHC is not a multi-million dollar business. They aren't the ones who'd be getting sued, the one who would needed crowd funding to hire a lawyer and thus is likely judgement proof. Also loses very little if they lose. DHC loses their repuation either way. Finally, if you won so big, what are you even doing here arguing about something like this. You should be set for life with that sort of case. Oh wait, the lawyer probably got it all and nobody gave a crap about your part in it by the time it got settled. All you won was some ego boo.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I wasn't a multi millions business either, and notice how I said nothing about costs or collection, which is between me and the elders who also won judgements. "Judgement proof" doesn't mean what you think it means, especially with claims about defamation or abuse. Thanks for proving my comments though. Pretend internet lawyers are the very best.

Your rating: None

https://twitter.com/BlondeFoxy/status/1362541907822473216?s=20

A public statement has been made by Blonde Fox/Lucky Coyote on her position.

Your rating: None

Should probably just double down on all fours and start serving the quad suit market. Plenty of money to be made there.

Your rating: None

And a whole mass of people are harassing her. It's hard to imagine that even if someone thinks she's in the wrong that that is acceptable behaviour.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

Which almost certainly means there will be no lawsuit (paying attention Patch?) since there's no way a lawyer would have cleared the statement or the video. I'm sure DHC will continue to make suits for people since there are plenty of furies who don't do social media.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

"Idk if y'all have had to deal with legal things before, but it is *very* exhausting." - Qutens

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

As we all know, people never do things that their lawyers wish they wouldn't do.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

They should hire pretend internet lawyers giving the very most valuable advice from comment sections

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I would note that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome" is a disclaimer that many commercials for lawyers have.

That being said your exchange above indicates that you have expertise in defamation lawsuits due to being involved in one defamation case.

After viewing Blondie Fox's video, I think she may have a stronger case than many may give her credit for, this is true. Many may be underestimating how strong Qutens's case is or that she will win this thing. One thing that was suspicious to me is that Qutens didn't provide a copy of the C&D letter outright on her GoFundMe, but instead provided a link to the Google doc she published which caused the C&D.

Instead my first viewing of excerpts of what was in the C&D was in Blondie Fox's video under which they laid out their case as to why they found the document to be defamatory. Is that an assertion that Qutens did not want to share because they were worried about the perspective it would give to them on the internet? This doubling down could be utilized and argued by the plaintiff in the case. If Nintendo sent a C&D about a fan game an the person receiving it said "Hey I got a C&D, here's a link to the fan game on pirate bay" I would think Nintendo would find that action to be one of contempt and move forward with their lawsuit and use the statement as evidence against the person.

In the end I will note that being in a car accident doesn't make one an accident specialist. Defamation lawyers deal with hundreds of cases, and sometimes similar cases have different outcomes because we're dealing with a system of humans.

Every professional has a percentage of speculation. It's just their speculation is more accurate given their experiences. And also the study of hundreds of other experiences prior to theirs's. Everything is a practice. Minc law thinks Blondie Fox has a case. After viewing her video I think she does too. This may very well have to be settled in court, and if it is then I think there are going to be many furs using it as a battle ground of "Internet Justice" and the lines under which it can operate. Qutens raised funds, but there are probably a group of furs who will probably be providing funding the Blondie behind closed doors to fight back against this style of "Internet Justice" that they are critical of as well.

Who knows who will win. From this outsider looking in, it's probably a 50-50 at this point. Only party that I can assure has won are the lawyers, because they're about to profit on a conflict that has been growing in the fandom for years now. And this case may grow to be a more symbolic fight between ideals rather then just between a DHC and Qutens. I think people on both sides want to see where it leads in court.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

People keep misunderstanding because internet evidence is not court evidence. Just because anon pitched in to a callout doesn't mean anon would be part of legal matters. More anons doesn't necessarily help and can lead to losing. Legal matters do not always hinge on money stakes... watch the documentary about Hulk Hogan vs Gawker and make special note of Peter Thiel's role. I've never been in a car accident but it doesn't take an expert to say that anyone who wants good info can wait to hear from the sources... this comment section isn't one.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

At this point, it's obvious that Patch is living in la-la fairy sparkle land and has nothing valid to say regarding the real world. That's fine Patch 'pet pet' You just be well where you are and the rest of us can move on in reality world.

Your rating: None

Really you must like getting beat up by lala fairies from sparkle land but whatever floats your Boat.

Lucky panned the allegations so I guess we will see later.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

Patch's experience has absolutely no relation to the current one under discussion. Neither side has millions to defend or even 10's of thousands. DHC is producing costumes for a fan group that pays a lot more attention to the court of public opinion than they do courts of law. Qutens needed financial help to pay a retainer to a lawyer which was covered in under a day. That should indicate where people stand on that. I don't see any rushing to help Lucky pay for her lawyer. That should also make it pretty obvious there no financial incentive to sue. I'm sure Lucky's lawyer pointed that out. If Lucky sues and wins X amount. Qutens declares bankruptcy. Lucky gets zero, she's out her legal costs, and her rep is still shot.

One final thing; nowhere in the text of that document is 'DHC' mentioned. The closest is 'fursuit making company'. Those testimonials were all focusing on Lucky's actions, not DHC. I don't think it would take much of a lawyer to get a suit brought by DHC LLC dismissed. If Lucky wants to sue, she'll have to do it outside of any corporate liability protection. I note Qutens has been silent about the situation since it came up (likely listening to her lawyer).

Finally, Lucky doesn't get to hold this over Quten's head forever. There are cases of courts basically saying put up or forever shut up when there's an indication an aggrieved party might just be delaying until such time as the one they want to sue has less support in place to defend themselves.

Your rating: None

While there is no text of "Don't Hug Cacti" there are two photos in the document that are contain their company name.

Page 64 and 27.

The one on 64 can be tied with the evidence of her parrot, but the one on page 27 has no ties with any of the surrounding text I can discern. If the goal of Qutens was to make sure DHC as a company was not brought in under the testimony, those two images were an oversite and could be an inlet.

The economic unviability was something Lucky did note in her video statement. Though if she had no intent to go through with it, then why send a C&D?

Perhaps it was to do a SLAP, but this seems to have failed as Qutens was able to raise defense funding. Now the question is if Lucky believed if she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't how much revenge is worth it to her? People don't always make decisions based on sound economical considerations.

(Of which I learned about the whole FurAffinity:United mis-statement I did.)

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Hi Patch here. Let's do this again, pointing out all the stupid fucking assumptions from the internet lawyer.

I didn't have millions to defend. The people trying to sue didn't have millions. They had a supposed multi millions project that was trying to get the investor jizz shower. The main victim served a $58 million lawsuit to the villain at dinner with the investors. You appear to have no clue about what damages are.

Many factors go in to a dispute besides money. You don't know those factors. Only an idiot tries to sum them up ahead of time. Lawyers don't do what you think you can do here. You're not a lawyer and need to put that in front of every stupid post you make.

Qutens didn't state anything about poverty. Only that a fund was open to take donations. That amount might pay for a week of lawyer hours. Do the math vs DHC's potential resources (which you don't know) for taking in that much every month or two.

Not all lawsuits hinge on financial incentive. Proving someone lied and forcing retractions, spite or frivolous actions are things. You also don't know how many defendants there could be or what assets they have.

Intentional torts can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

"nowhere in the text of that document is 'DHC' mentioned" oh sweet summer child.

Did you mean to talk about statutory limits? You don't have the bare minimum info do you.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing