Patterico's Pontifications

1/13/2007

Another Blogger Fired for a Blog Post

Filed under: Blogging Matters,California Recall Election,General — Patterico @ 2:53 pm

Another blogger has been fired over a blog post. In this case, the blogger was a video store clerk who had rented a video to Tucker Carlson, and then wrote a rather creepy blog post about it. The post is here, and said:

Tucker Carlson opened an account last night at my video store. I thought the name seemed familiar but I couldn’t figure out why. It was after he left that I realized he was on the list of Gigantic Cobagz. I could tell you what he and his ridiculously wasped-out female companion (wife?) rented if you really want to know. I won’t tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

The Washington Post piece about this doesn’t mention that bit about “frozen urine treats for his home” — something I think Carlson could reasonably have taken as a veiled threat, coming as it did from someone with access to his home address.

I think the guy deserved to be fired.

My question: does Carlson wear a bow tie while renting a video?

UPDATE: I initially wrote: “Carlson arguably overreacted (he threatened the store with legal action), but I think the guy deserved to be fired.” But a commenter noted that Carlson denied having threatened legal action. I tried to clear it up in an update by noting that sending a lawyer down to ask questions is arguably an implied threat — but Carlson denied that, too. For clarity, I have decided to remove the reference from the post entirely, and to collapse the two previous updates into this one.

36 Responses to “Another Blogger Fired for a Blog Post”

  1. Speaking to the WaPo, Carlson said he *didn’t* threaten the store with legal action. He said he confronted the blogger and demanded that the post be taken down, to which the blogger agreed. Carlson agreed to the description “aggressive” applied to his confrontation with the blogger. The *store* says somebody identifying himself as Carlson’s lawyer came in, and after that the blogger was fired.

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  2. Actually, that last part isn’t even tright–WaPo says blogger was told the store with threatened with legal action and that’s why he was fired, and that blogger *later learned* (from where?) that somebody had been in the store IDing himself as TC’s lawyer.

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  3. Updated.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  4. My only problem with the video store clerk was his piss-poor, dull writing.

    TruthProbe (b0f421)

  5. I think there may be some hair-splitting by Carlson here; most people would consider sending a lawyer down to ask questions to be pretty close to threatening legal action.

    Well, except that Carlson denies that too:

    “Carlson said he took no further action and said he couldn’t have called his lawyer because he doesn’t have one.”

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  6. D’oh. That’s what you get for doing an update in a hurry.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  7. And having editors among your commenters. 😉

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  8. If I were running a business I would take a dim view of anyone who publicly disparaged any named customer. Since in this case the customer had apparently done nothing wrong and the clerk had threatened to disclose what he rented (which I believe is legally protected information) firing seems completely justified.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  9. I don’t mean to nitpick (what are you talking about? Of course you mean to nitpick) but

    most people would consider sending a lawyer down to ask questions to be pretty close to threatening legal action.

    totally depends on what the lawyer did while asking questions. If the lawyer didn’t identify himself or even if he did identify himself but merely asked questions, it’s an implied threat, at best, hardly worthy of the term “threat.”

    See? Nitpick.

    jinnmabe (517b2c)

  10. I’m usually with you P on most matters, but on what grounds do you think the guy should be fired?

    He said some crass things sure, but not anything worse (except maybe the urine part) than most bloggers do (including yourself^^) about people.

    Is the 1st amendment now just a nit-pick kinda thing?

    o/t: Act of war?

    Lord Nazh (d282eb)

  11. He said his grounds: the veiled threat implied in “frozen urine treats to his home.”

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  12. I.E. the guy was using his job and access to home address as a way to make a credible threat. Employer decided it would prefer not to be the vehicle for a credible threat.

    Anwyn (a130c1)

  13. to call that a threat is the same as saying to 5-year olds huggin in school is sexual harrassment.

    Technically it’s the ‘same’ but not realistically

    Lord Nazh (d282eb)

  14. Occam’s Razor suggests a much simpler scenario – the moron got fired for whatever reason and fabricated this whole incident out of whole cloth and just hung it on Carlson who happened to be convenient and reviled.

    Purple Avenger (58a8c2)

  15. The guy was using personally identifiable information of his employer’s customer for non-work related reasons. Reason enough to be fired there.

    nk (8214ee)

  16. It’s a breach of confidentiality and privacy. If I were an employee and I used my inside knowledge to leak information about a customer, then I *deserve to be fired*.

    If I had an employee who did this – said he’d leak private information – I’d fire him immediately. And then I’d point out that he signed papers agreeing to protect our customers’ privacy – and I’d point out that I would sue him if he told people what customers rented.

    That little twit has no right to breach confidentiality. I hope at some point a lawyer educates him about the consequences of his little stunt, and how it will come back to bite him some day.

    steve miller (a73f1b)

  17. How can anyone NOT say that kid should have been canned? Good riddance. I don’t care if the renter was President Bush, Kate Beckinsale, or Jimmeh Carter. You don’t use that information for petty personal reasons.

    OHNOES (3b3653)

  18. Is the 1st amendment now just a nit-pick kinda thing?

    Lord Nazh, the First Amendment doesn’t come into play here at all. The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, acts as a restraint on government, not on private actors such as video rental companies.

    NYC 2L (41251e)

  19. I don’t care if the renter was President Bush, Kate Beckinsale, or Jimmeh Carter. You don’t use that information for petty personal reasons

    Ok, let’s be clear. If I had Kate Beckinsale’s personal information, I wouldn’t be using it for any petty reasons.

    jinnmabe (517b2c)

  20. A Blogger Fired-And He Had it Coming…

    A Blogger was fired for making some offensive statements on his blog about Tucker Carlson:

    Tucker Carlson opened an account last night at my video store. I thought the name seemed familiar but I couldn’t figure out why. It was after he left that I …

    Adam's Blog (694660)

  21. Okay, let me see if I understand this. The government looking into anything a citizen does is evil and nasty, under all circumstances.

    But invasion of privacy is okay in this case? Heck, I remember Clarence Thomas, where the video store records showed him renting porno flicks. No one jumped to his defense.

    I don’t mean to inflate this situation. The video clerk was an idiot—posting about a customer and referring, even obliquely, to his address. But dimes will get you donuts that the Left thinks this “invasion of privacy” is no big deal.

    It all has to do with a “D” or “R” next to you name.

    Mark (57c7b9)

  22. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes…

    “A video clerk may have a constitutional right to talk about Tucker Carlson, but he has no constitutional right to be a video clerk…”

    Clark Baker (337440)

  23. Wait, I thought Tucker was a lefty… I don’t keep up with my pundits…

    OHNOES (3b3653)

  24. Clerk With Blog Meets Tucker Carlson, Gets Fired…

    Buried on page C3 of yesterday’s WaPo is a story about a bizarre encounter between television commentator Tucker Carlson and a (now-former) 28-year-old video clerk store with a blog.
    Potomac Video store clerk Charles Williamson, 28, posted a mess…

    Outside The Beltway | OTB (30d6b6)

  25. […] The Washington Post has a blurb today about a blogger who was fired from his job at a video store because Tucker Carlson felt his family was threatened over something the blogger wrote on his blog about him. The Post left out part of the post (deliberately?) but Patterico has the link and text to what the offending post said, and I have to say I agree with the video store manager who fired the blogger. […]

    Sister Toldjah » Tucker Carlson overreacts? (1466f5)

  26. […] A few noteworthy bloggers have already weighed in on Williamson’s story. Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice seems more sympathetic to Williamson as David against Carlson’s Goliath. Patterico says that the original blog post was “creepy” and Williamson deserved to be fired for it. Ann Althouse takes Carlson’s side, and Dan Riehl wonders why Carlson ever became famous in the first place. Sister Toldjah says that regardless of what one thinks about Carlson, he had an expectation of privacy that Williamson threatened. […]

    Another Lesson In Not Crapping Where You Eat at Conservative Times--Republican GOP news source. (aeda9d)

  27. Guess What Blog MSNBC’S Tucker Carlson Doesn’t Like? (UPDATED)…

    No, it isn’t The Moderate Voice, although he may not be happy with the picture at left. We got it off the Internet. (It IS NOT of Tucker Carlson and we are not saying it is. It’s not dancing.).
    Once upon a time there was a clerk in a video …

    The Moderate Voice (3188ee)

  28. Releasing that information would have violated the video privacy protection act. Passed after a reporter dug up Bork’s video rentals. Your video records have more privacy than your health records.

    actus (10527e)

  29. he messed with a customer of his employer’s business. out he goes. i have no sympathy for him.

    assistant devil's advocate (0625af)

  30. What I find odd, and interesting, about the case, is this:

    It’s fairly likely that had the video clerk gotten stoned with his buddies and told them about it, including precisely what was rented, no action would ever have been taken. His social network would have had an amusing story hour, the story would probably have circulated as a rumor and mutated, and nobody would have been the wiser as to its origin.

    But instead he posted it publically, and it got noticed.

    The moral of the story: however informal the internet, and blogs in particular, may be, they are not the same category of informality as a bunch of friends hanging out on a back porch … and it can be a critical mistake to forget that.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  31. And I think i’m getting trapped in the spam filter again.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  32. Nice Post.

    That was well said. Always appreciate your indepth views. Keep up the great work!

    John

    JohnFrangerson (6cce00)

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