Man Says Freedom-Touting Site Defamed Him
SAVANNAH, Ga. (CN) - A website portrayed a man as a child molester by linking his photo to the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl to whom he had no connection, the man claims in court.
Michael W. Brannies sued Internet Roi Inc. dba American Overlook, in Chatham County State Court.
The Massachusetts-based Internet Roi operates American Overlook, an online publication that aims to "keep every American citizen informed of the dangers threatening their freedom," according to its website.
The webpage publishes four categories: politics, crime, opinion and entertainment.
Brannies claims that American Overlook copied a picture of him from an online photo database and published it next to defamatory statements that had no connection to him.
"On or about Jan. 13, 2014, the defendant on its webpage ... published a picture of the plaintiff above a heading which claimed 'VIDEO: Homeless Man Does the Unthinkable to 10-Year-Old Girl in Public,'" the complaint states. "The obvious inference is that the plaintiff had committed an unthinkable act against a 10-year old girl in public.
"A link underneath the photograph of the plaintiff provides access to a very grainy and fuzzy video that depicts a very unkempt and confused-looking individual entering a restaurant and then describes a horrible sexual assault that the individual commits against a 10-year old girl in the women's bathroom. According to the video, this occurred in California. The obvious inference of this publication is that the picture of the plaintiff is a picture of the individual who committed this horrible act. The plaintiff had nothing to do with this incident and was not involved in the matter whatsoever."
Brannies says the post caused him emotional distress and made him fear for his life and safety.
He seeks damages for libel and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
He is represented by Dwight Feemster with Duffy & Feemster, and Tom Edenfield.
American Overlook did not respond to a request for comment.