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#MeToo movement journalist sues lawmaker for liking defaming tweets

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Ito's lawyer said that liking the tweets is the equivalent of "group bullying," 

This is a notable, controversial point for the court battle. The verdict might set a precedent.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Sugita's quite the cheerleader for misogyny:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mio_Sugita

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Clicking like button and posting in comments are two whole different things. I support the #MeToo movement, but she is crazy if she thinks she can win that lawsuit. You might as well put me in prison then cosidered how many video's and comments i liked in all these years. Even this websites itself everyone is making use of the liking and disliking function. Ps: Abe would probably able to sue a whole lot of people on this site itself. lol

13 ( +27 / -14 )

Regardless of Sugita's demeanor and also the contents of the tweets this lawsuit would set a dangerous precedence. As with any law which stymies the free exchange of ideas or the ability to freely provide an opinion this could one day be used against Shiori Ito (or any plaintiff for that matter).

Although I find the tweets disgusting and vile if someone can be sued for merely hitting a like button (which could also be in error) the unintended consequences could be drastic.

28 ( +32 / -4 )

Clicking like button and posting in comments are two whole different things. I support the #MeToo movement, but she is crazy if she thinks she can win that lawsuit. You might as well put me in prison then cosidered how many video's and comments i liked in all these years. Even this websites itself everyone is making use of the liking and disliking function. Ps: Abe would probably able to sue a whole lot of people on this site itself. lol

You might be surprised then to learn how many employers will refuse to hire people who have liked or disliked certain social media posts or for posts the job applicant made. Likewise some employers will terminate people for their off work social media content. Many employers demand job seekers hand over all of their social media names and passwords so they can investigate your social media posts to see if the person they are considering for a job might turn out to be embarrassing to them.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

she is crazy if she thinks she can win that lawsuit

Well, there's recent precedent in the case of independent journalist Yasumi Iwakami who was fined 330,000 Yen for retweeting comments about the former governor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, who was accused of bullying a subordinate who committed suicide.

The Iwakami lawsuit is seen as a clear case of judicial harassment of the media and attracted international attention.

https://rsf.org/en/news/japanese-journalist-victim-judicial-harassment-defamatory-retweet

Sugita and Hasumi are vile people, truly revolting. Good luck to Ms. Ito. Given that the boot is on the other foot than in the Hashimoto case, one fears that she might need it.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Enough with the these pc swj's! Now they're making law suits for someone clicking "like" button. Next, they'll be suing for reading any info on the web.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

It's not even about the lawsuit. Its more about her willingness to take a stand regardless of what form it comes in

4 ( +12 / -8 )

It is a pity she can only sue for money.

Why doesn't it translate into prison sentence if she wins.

About clicking on Twitter, definitively it goes against freedom of opinion.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I guess I’ll have to be careful about which posts I like and dislike on JT.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Good for Ms. Ito, I hope she wins and teach others NOT to bully victims.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Why doesn't it translate into prison sentence if she wins.

We have criminal courts for a reason. The low burden of proof in a civil court is pretty much a joke in a case like this. You may as well have a die roll to see who goes to jail and who doesn't.

About clicking on Twitter, definitively it goes against freedom of opinion.

It does. But there are those who hate so much they don't care about freedom one jot. They will destroy anything and everything to revel in their hate.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Suing for a click. Is she American?

7 ( +14 / -7 )

SupportShioriIto
-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Suing someone for clicking the like icon? I’m afraid Ms Ito has gone a little too far. I often wonder who’s financing her multiple lawsuits.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Wanetta Gibson won in both criminal and civil court. Brian Banks went to jail for years and she was awarded millions of dollars. And there were of course those who did not believe her and posted against her. How many more millions would she have amassed if this sort of thing is allowed? And now we know Wanetta Gibson lied.

If you want to believe Shiori Ito, fine. I neither believe nor disbelieve because for me the evidence is lacking. Free speech is already ailing. Is this how you want it to die, knowing there are more Wanetta Gibsons in the world?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What the hell? Just block them if you don't want them to "like" your posts... or better still don't post online and no one will like your posts.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I guess pretty soon we'll be legally forced to 'like" and agree with the metoo movement. Can't like differing opinions.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Taking the histories of the accuser & accused here OUT of this discussion.

Suing someone for likes & I assume then also dis-likes is INSANE!!! If this becomes a thing then employers will likely end up firing their ENTIRE STAFFS!!!

We will ALL owe someone(perhaps many) from the ""lawsuits"" we ""lost"" & then we all are not only out of jobs but in DEBT to the courts......MESSED UP.

This nonsense is a BIG reason I basically DONT do any social media for social or business, one slip up & it can cost you, just think how many MILLIONS have been taken out of the running for jobs just because of the crap they post on their FB for petes sake!

BTW I must tell you all you must LIKE all my posts here onwards OR ELSE you have been warned :)!!!!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

BTW I must tell you all you must LIKE all my posts here onwards OR ELSE you have been warned :)!!!!

-1( +0 / -1 )

Come get me. :D

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Regardless of what happened to Ito, suing someone for expressing an opinion, however despicable it might be, goes against free speech.

This is not a wise move on Ito's part. It'll probably backfire and make her look like an sjw.

If she goes after Sugita just for liking a tweet, then she'll have to sue everyone who liked that tweet. And if she doesn't, Sugita's the one who'll look like the victim in this...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Regardless of Sugita's demeanor and also the contents of the tweets this lawsuit would set a dangerous precedence. As with any law which stymies the free exchange of ideas or the ability to freely provide an opinion this could one day be used against Shiori Ito (or any plaintiff for that matter).

Although I find the tweets disgusting and vile if someone can be sued for merely hitting a like button (which could also be in error) the unintended consequences could be drastic.

Hard to improve on that. Great post.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Believe it or not, this MeToo journalist is on a lose-lose situation over this stunt she pulled with.

Sugita can just feign ignorance and say she mis-clicked the like button, or she didn't know that the heart symbol meant so much more.

But if Ito somehow wins this defamation suit, she opens the Pandora's box of liking tweets to the account holder as an evidence, as this might affect even Twitter itself.

Next thing, you browse when you like a tweet and a warning message appears:

"Liking this tweet can be used against you in court. Proceed?"

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Go away. Frivolous lawsuit. This is effectively a lawsuit over gossip.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The poundMeToo movement needs to address other issues firsts before this 'like' the twits. Far more image damaging issues if they really cared.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Me WHO ? "Nevermind" (Gilda Radner voice)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I support Ms. Ito but not in this action.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sugita really is horrible and I was glad that Ito won her previous case against Yamaguchi, but I don’t think that merely liking a Tweet should be grounds for a defamation suit.

The whole idea behind defamation law is to have the people who make the defaming (and untrue) statement pay compensation for the damage to reputation they cause. But liking someone else’s statement is different from making the statement yourself. Seems the suit should be brought against whoever made the original tweet rather than Sugita.

It would be different I think if Sugita shared the tweets rather than just liking them, since that would be like her repeating the defamatory statements.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Whether the suit is successful or not is probably not the real intent here. It is to draw attention to the fact that a senior politician supports the case against Ito. That in itself adds to the barrage of hate, disinformation, and bigotry aimed at Ito over the past years.

The weight of Sugita's voice is not insignificant. As one of the most right-wing members of the ldp, with her extreme views on any number of social issues well noted, it is no surprise she's strongly against Ito.

She said in a BBC interview -

"....With this case, there were clear errors on her part as a woman; drinking that much in front of a man and losing her memory. With things like this I think men are the ones who suffer significant damage....”

Such insight from a so called leading politician. That's why she's appreciated so much by nippon-kaigi.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Although I find the tweets disgusting and vile if someone can be sued for merely hitting a like button (which could also be in error) the unintended consequences could be drastic.

Yes, but a precedent has already been set by the Yasumi Iwakami case. Independent journalist Mr. Iwakami was fined 330, 000 yen by the Osaka High Court for retweeting a comment that Toru Hashimoto, former Osaka governor, drove a subordinate to suicide by bullying him.

Japanese and international media see the Iwakami case as an attempt to muzzle journalists in this country.

There's also the case of a Nagoya woman suing a politician for incorrectly identifying her in facebook posts as a passenger in a road rage incident.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200624/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, but a precedent has already been set by the Yasumi Iwakami case. Independent journalist Mr. Iwakami was fined 330, 000 yen by the Osaka High Court for retweeting a comment that Toru Hashimoto, former Osaka governor, drove a subordinate to suicide by bullying him.

I think there is a distinction between “liking” and “retweeting” which is relevant though. Retweeting means you are basically repeating the defamatory statement yourself, so it makes sense to treat that the same way you would the original tweet. Liking is just liking though and doesn’t really constitute repeating the statement yourself (well, at least as far as I’m aware, I don’t use Twitter much so I have the “like” button on Facebook and how it works in mind).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It may not be obvious to some readers, but the two main people Ito is suing are other women.

As its name should suggest, MeToo is a solidarity movement among women. This episode illustrates the underlying lack of solidarity between women in Japan. As we see here, some of them are perfectly happy to play the system as it stands and will attack women who challenge it. This should be remembered when viewing Japan through the lens of contemporary Western feminism, which tends to see women as universally oppressed and men as the obstacle to its goals.

I don't know about this case, but the cartoons sound like a more active and overt attack on Ito than the politician liking the tweets. This may be a lost or unworthy case, but we need more, not less accountability of public representatives.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I actually want to see this case played out. How much can a "like" be interpreted as direct communication? How much a following does a person need to have to constitute a level of influence as to be considered a source of harassment?

Personally, I think the lawsuit is almost a SLAP suit and if it goes in the ladies favor a whole lot of legal demons are going to be released.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I do not own a twitter account nor a facebook account or insta, I do not use any social media platform I see no reason. Its just a platform for the addicted. I see no point in using twitter at all and for what? Im self sufficient without relying on twitter so can you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If you like a tweet it means you support that tweet. If the original tweet content was cyber bullying then by clicking the like button you are an accessory to cyber bullying under the recent law by the Japanese Government. It’s about time someone sued another person along these lines because cyber bullying needs to stop...period!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I firmly stand behind Ito on this. It's more than just a click, it's from a fellow lawmaker showing no respect to someone's trauma.

Ito claims the tweets that Sugita liked included a post that says Ito should stop pretending to be a rape victim.

For Sugita to do this is lower than low. I would expect more professionalism and deference to the law from someone in Sugita's position. Then again Sugita has a history of discrediting many, such as the LGBT as "unproductive" when it comes to increasing the country's fertility rate.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/24/national/politics-diplomacy/ldp-lawmaker-mio-sugita-faces-backlash-describing-lgbt-people-unproductive/

It's more than just a click. Anyone who chooses to like a comment that is racist, misogynist, or filled with hate, chooses to exercise behavior far from the norms of freedom of speech. Especially from a person in power who is supposedly representing a higher moral standard.

There are groups on the internet that share these posts, with strong, silent support in the form of likes. These groups have the power to wreak serious damage on the vulnerable in society. They feed on likes.

If you think discrediting a victim is okay, then I have serious doubts where society is headed.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Is it okay for a public figure ina public space to accuse someone of being a liar when, in fact, her case has been proven in court?

I don’t think the lawsuit is so far fetched.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Shiori Ito, a journalist and symbol of Japan's #MeToo movement, sued ruling party member Mio Sugita for damages on Thursday for allegedly clicking the "like" icon on several tweets

Thought crime.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

VICTIM BLAMING FULL BLOOM HERE

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For Sugita to do this is lower than low. I would expect more professionalism and deference to the law from someone in Sugita's position. 

I don’t disagree, but the question here isn’t whether Sugita did something morally wrong (clearly she did), but whether she should be legally liable for defamation specifically. I don’t think it would be good to set a precedent that merely liking something on social media could expose a person to millions of Yen in liability.

Everyone hates Sugita and rightly so I think, but setting a precedent like that could just as easily be used by horrible people (ironically like Sugita herself) to sue their critics into silence.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

rainydayToday 12:38 pm JST

For Sugita to do this is lower than low. I would expect more professionalism and deference to the law from someone in Sugita's position. 

I don’t disagree, but the question here isn’t whether Sugita did something morally wrong (clearly she did), but whether she should be legally liable for defamation specifically. I don’t think it would be good to set a precedent that merely liking something on social media could expose a person to millions of Yen in liability.

Everyone hates Sugita and rightly so I think, but setting a precedent like that could just as easily be used by horrible people (ironically like Sugita herself) to sue their critics into silence.

"Liking" something surely signifies agreement, one would have thought. I often "like" your comments because I agree with their contents.

Lest readers be unaware of what kind of people are involved here, Mio Sugita is a female member of the Japanese Diet who famously encouraged the commission of terrorist acts in the US, namely the blowing up of comfort women statues on American soil.

Shohei Osawa was fired from his assistant professorship at Tokyo University for racist comments against the Chinese. After he was sacked for refusing to hire Chinese nationals in his AI firm, he said, "Tokyo University is run by the CCCP."

Toshiko Hasumi is vile. Readers can look up her garbage for themselves.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't profess to know the specifics, of course, but it seems to me the lawsuit isn't so much about her actions but on shining a light on those actions in a public way. She may have no intention of actually winning the lawsuit but on making sure people are aware of what Ms. Sugita is doing in which case it seems pretty effective to me and good on her!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

sorry if I missed mention of this above, but what I wonder is.... how does she (or anyone) know who clicks 'like' or 'dislike'? not a twitter user myself so maybe likes and etc aren't anonymous there? be interested to have this process explained to me.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

”Liking" something surely signifies agreement, one would have thought.

It does. But I don’t think merely expressing agreement with something in such a passive way as hitting a like button should be grounds for a defamation suit. The reason we have defamation law in the first place is to protect people’s reputations from untrue slanderous statements. The person who makes the statement is the one who causes that injury, not someone who does the online version of nodding in agreement.

This is really dangerous because while in this case the plaintiff is a person we sympathize with using the law to challenge a powerful person we hate, usually its the opposite. Powerful people abuse defamation law all the time to silence and intimidate their critics (Trump is a big fan of defamation suits to drop a big name example). While it is tempting to support Ito based on how distasteful we find Sugita, a precedent like this would probably be more often be used by people like Sugita to silence people like Ito in the future. She or someone like her could take a rule that allowed her to sue anyone who liked a defamatory statement about her on social media to do some real damage to those with critical opinions of her.

I often "like" your comments because I agree with their contents.

Thank you, and likewise.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The main function of a legal system is for the equitable resolution of differences between affected parties. I read article twice to try to get a deep understanding of the issues at play here. One Shiori Ito, wants to sue someone for liking a tweet. In my humble opinion I view such a legal case as being;

Malicious

The liker of the post was not the maker and hence cannot be held liable. Simply liking a statement cannot be discerned to mean that one agrees with it.

If she should succeed in court, it would set a dangerous legal precedent for the Japanese legal system because it would amount to negating free speech.

The liker of a Twitter post cannot possibly be held legally liable for a post because the action of liking something does not mean that they are promoting said post so cannot be held liable for libel or defamation in any respect.

The action of Shiori Ito could be seen as bullying

In any event, such a lawsuit should be seen as frivolous in the law courts and not be allowed to succeed. The matter of rape should never be taken lightly the hand of the law should always act swiftly and firmly to protect victims of abuse. To what extent should this protection be afforded?? Surely not to vilify everyone and anyone who the victim identifies as a perpetrator but rather to afford the victim justice and damages for the harm done to her person and the action of liking a Tweet does not equate to further harm being enacted up on a victim.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I hope Ito gets dismissed as a vexatious litigant.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She clearly has no shame. Her “case” won’t amount to anything and she will be laughed off.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Powerful people abuse defamation law all the time to silence and intimidate their critics (Trump is a big fan of defamation suits to drop a big name example). While it is tempting to support Ito based on how distasteful we find Sugita, a precedent like this would probably be more often be used by people like Sugita to silence people like Ito in the future. She or someone like her could take a rule that allowed her to sue anyone who liked a defamatory statement about her on social media to do some real damage to those with critical opinions of her.

Yes, you're right. These would be the so-called SLAPP lawsuits, I think. In the UK they've been used against the investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr by Arron Banks, the leader of the main pro-Brexit group Leave.EU, as she has gotten closer to proving that Leave.EU was illegally funded by American and Russian black money.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It does. But I don’t think merely expressing agreement with something....

I often give likes to posts I disagree with simply because the person made a good argument or provided a lot of factual information even if I feel they drew the wrong conclusion. Why? Because quite often the wrong conclusion was drawn for missing just one piece of information. Why would I deny a like to someone who was 99 percent of the way there? Especially when I think just my adding one point will get them to change their minds?

Also I sometimes give a like for agreeing with 50 percent but less than 99 percent of a post. Sometimes half the post is a really important point I agree with, and the other half a minor point I don't agree with. Why would I deny a like in that case?

And there are more reasons to give a like. Some people (not me) will do it out of friend loyalty. I could go on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of her previous accusers was someone who exposed the lies of the Korean comfort women.

Her own background has been untraceable at some point and there are rumors that she was either naturalized or a Korean citizen in Japan.

It is rumored that the entity behind her and assisting her is an anti-Japanese far-left force.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yes, you're right. These would be the so-called SLAPP lawsuits, I think. In the UK they've been used against the investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr by Arron Banks, the leader of the main pro-Brexit group Leave.EU, as she has gotten closer to proving that Leave.EU was illegally funded by American and Russian black money.

Yes, SLAPP suits are what I had in mind. If a politician or powerful business could bring one of those (and usually they are based on defamation claims) not just against an activist who made a critical post, but also against anyone who liked that post, it would really be a huge threat to civil society groups.

For that reason I find myself in the awkward position of defending Sugita on this, despite finding her views repellent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

”Liking" something surely signifies agreement, one would have thought.

I like things if they are funny, are well-written, thought provoking, or agree with some part, but not always everything, provided the remaining words aren't against a core belief.

Different cultures have different ideas about what is acceptable discourse between different people. The rules are different for adults than for children. Being mean, but truthful towards an adult is acceptable, but not towards a child. A "like" doesn't come anywhere near the point of bullying. Neither does 1,000,000 likes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of the people here saying this lawsuit is malicious miss the point that a public official is essentially calling a private citizen a liar, in a public domain, no less. In addition, a court has shown that she is not lying. Forget your feelings and look at the facts.

That is a “textbook” case of defamation. There isn’t much wiggle room here for Sugita except to claim that her account had been hacked.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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