U.S. District Court Judge Gives Jack Thompson 30 Days to Explain Why He Shouldn't Also Be Disbarred From Federal Court

July 7, 2009 -

Jack Thompson may have wowed the gamer crowd at SGC09 over the weekend, but Chief Judge Federico Moreno of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida appears to be decidedly less smitten with the disbarred attorney's act.

In a court order issued on June 26th, Moreno directed Thompson to explain why his October, 2008 disbarment by the Florida Bar should not also extend to Thompson's ability to argue before the federal bench.

"Wait," you're saying to yourself, "I thought Jack Thompson was already disbarred?"

That's correct. But Thompson has maintained for some time that the disbarment order of the Florida Supreme Court applies only to the state court system. Thompson has even taken to including verbiage to that effect in the headings of his e-mails, like the one below:

John B. Thompson, Juris Doctor
Once and Future Attorney
(address removed by GP)
Only Admitted to Practice in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Not Admitted in Florida

Despite Thompson's claim, Judge Moreno's order seems to indicate that Thompson's ability to function as a lawyer in federal court is, at best, on life support.

For his part, Thompson reacted with typical bluster to the Judge's order. For example, a July 2nd e-mail to Judge Moreno (cc'd to GamePolitics) demands copies of any communications concerning Thompson between the Southern District Court and the Florida Bar. In the e-mail Thompson seems to mock Judge Moreno and makes reference to being placed on a "terrorists watch list":

I make this request/demand because of your prior improper placement of me on a terrorists watch list in retaliation for my sending you a letter about judicial misconduct on your watch. Even the Deputy US Marshals thought that was absurd.  They laugh now every time I show up at the courthouse asking, “Are you still a dangerous terrorist, Mr. Thompson?”  Funny stuff.

Now you have entered a show cause order demanding that I explain why you should not disbar me from the federal court, and in doing so you have told me to spend at least $30,000 to make my case in producing documents all of which the Florida Supreme Court has and [can] give you free of charge...

 

If I get sent to Gitmo as a “terrorist,” then please send the stuff there.  I’ll be facing Tallahassee in prayer several times a day as required.

If you are curious as to the "terrorist watch list" reference, as GamePolitics reported last year, Judge Moreno dispatched a pair of U.S. Marshals to meet with Thompson afer the embattled attorney wrote to the judge, complaining:

We find yesterday that enemy combatants at Guantanamo are to get more due process from federal judges than what I am to have. I guess my "mistake" was not killing 3000 people to make my point...

Shortly thereafter Thompson complained that he was stopped from entering the courthouse in Miami by security personnel and was only permitted to enter the building with an escort.

Thompson, whose petition to review his disbarment was denied by the United States Supreme Court earlier this year, has a separate case relating to the disbarment ongoing in the Southern District.

DOCUMENT DUMP: GamePolitics has obtained a copy of Judge Moreno's one-page order via public records request. Grab a copy here.

76 comments

Jack Thompson Appeals Disbarment to U.S. Supreme Court

February 23, 2009 -

As GamePolitics reported in January, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson hopes to have his professional status reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

To that end, Thompson filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court late last week.

Thompson nonetheless faces an uphill struggle. According to its website, the Supreme Court receives petitions to consider about 10,000 cases per year. Only about 100 of those will be granted a hearing.

DOCUMENT DUMP: You can grab a copy of the certificate of service for Thompson's cert petition here. We do not have the actual petition at this time, although we are working to acquire it.

UPDATE: According to the SCOTUS docket, Thompson is due to receive a response to his petition on March 25th.

72 comments

Jack Thompson Takes His Case to U.S. Supreme Court

January 4, 2009 -

Jack Thompson is hoping that the United States Supreme Court will consider his appeal of the Florida Supreme Court ruling that disbarred him for life.

In mid-December the anti-game attorney requested from the U.S. Superme Court an extension of a Christmas Eve deadline in which to file what is known as a petition for a writ of certiorari.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has granted Thompson's request, meaning that the embattled anti-game violence advocate will have until February 18th to petition for cert with the Supreme Court.

While the extension is a positive development for Thompson, he nonetheless faces an uphill struggle. According to its website, the Supreme Court receives petitions to consider about 10,000 cases per year. Only about 100 of those will be granted a hearing.

Document Dump:

  1. Thompson's request for extension
  2. SCOTUS letter granting request
100 comments

Florida Attorney: Jack Thompson's Attacks are the "Emotional Equivalent of Stalking"

July 12, 2008 -

In 2005, Jack Thompson wrote Out of Harm's Way, an autobiography which detailed his brand of activism. Toward the end of book he lists 25 Culture War Tips From the Trenches.

These include "Be mean" and "Take the Offensive."

Thompson apparently put his philosophy into practice with zest, if one judges by transcripts of his November, 2007 Bar trial. Judge Dava Tunis cites large chunks of those transcripts in her 169-page report to the Florida Supreme Court in which she recommends that Thompson be disbarred for life.

While GamePolitics has already offered exclusive coverage of the transcripts involving Thompson Bar trial witnesses related to video game cases, we had not previously read the testimony of Florida attorneys Larry Kellogg and Al Cardenas (left) of the Tew Cardenas law firm. In 2005 Kellogg was hired by Beasley Communications to deal with Thompson. Beasley owns radio stations and Thompson had targeted some of their shock jock programming. From the transcripts cited by Judge Tunis:

Kellogg: ...what [Thompson] does in these situations -- is he attacks the lawyers for those he wants to do something with... once he learned that I was involved, he started sending me communications to me about my client and about me to others. He also started copying me with all the communications he was sending to others... the F.C.C., third parties of every sort...

I had another matter out in Denver... So I went out to Denver and I didn't get back to Mr. Thompson quick enough for him. So I started getting e-mails threatening that he was going to sue me personally if I didn't arrange a meeting. He sent me an e-mail giving me deadlines. I must have this meeting -- agree to this meeting -- by a certain date or things were going to happen. I was getting all these e-mails, but I was out on another matter and I didn't think it was the most important thing in my life was to arrange a meeting with him. So because I didn't do it fast enough for him, he sent a series of letters... and this was the basis for my initial Bar complaint, why I got involved for the first time in 26 years in a Bar proceeding. I've never filed a Bar complaint and I've never been involved in one prior to this day. This is what made me do it...

Al Cardenas is my partner. Al Cardenas has never represented Beasley and he had never done anything
personally on behalf of Beasley up to that time and never has since. He's never billed an hour of time. He's never talked to them about any legal matter. He's never represented them in any way. He was simply an innocent bystander, who happens to have been the co-chair of President Bush's Florida campaign. He is involved in politics. He's well known as being involved in politics on the Republican side and he knows very well Jeb Bush and he knows George Bush and [Florida Governor] Charlie Crist. He knows them all and they all know who he is.... So Mr. Thompson, because I wouldn't get a meeting with him fast enough...[made the following statements regarding Mr. Cardenas.]:

184 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 9): Recap, About the Series, What's Next for Thompson?

March 28, 2008 -

Click here to see the entire series: The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson...

It's fair to say that Miami attorney Jack Thompson is an iconic figure among the video game community, although not in any happy sense.

Since immersing himself in the game violence debate in the late 1990's, he has become the embodiment of what many gamers perceive as a lack of acceptance by non-gaming society and the mainstream media. In some ways, he seems to relish the role.

Thompson's frequent television appearances, during which he typically blames violent video games for all sorts of mayhem, have positioned him as the go-to guy when the media (primarily Fox News, of late) needs a sound bite lamenting the havoc which video games are supposedly wreaking on modern youth.

No other critic, no other watchdog, has ever come close to Thompson's recognition factor. There are gamer-created songs about the guy. Cartoons, too, as well as video skits, t-shirts, toilet paper, website parodies and Photoshop contests.

To be fair, though, Thompson works at it. His media appearances, his propensity for acid-tongued verbal attacks, his lawsuits, threats of lawsuits and incessant e-mails containing Urgent! alerts make him difficult to ignore.

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The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 8): Thompson's Closing Statement

March 27, 2008 -

We're coming to the end of our exclusive series detailing the video game-related testimony in controversial attorney Jack Thompson's professional misconduct trial by the Florida Bar.

In today's episode, GamePolitics will present Thompson's closing argument. There is no cross-examination during a closing. It's an attorney's chance to summarize the case for the Court, recalling evidence presented and touching on points of law. As such, except for a couple of procedural matters, this is Thompson speaking.

In tomorrow's finale, GP will recap the series, including an explanation of how it all came together. If you've missed any of the previous installments, just click the Bar Trial series tag to catch up.

(In today's excerpted transcript, JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

JT: Okay. By way of closing argument... here's the text of the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Did I give you that?...

TUMA: Yes.

JT: It says... "Exercise of religion means an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious beliefs... The Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it is demonstrated that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest... A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief."

I'm simply making the argument, Judge, that my motivations - which I have tried to make clear, maybe to the point of nausea - are religious and that my efforts against the distribution of adult material, pornographic material, violent material, adult rated material to children is violative of the law as well as violative of Scripture. I quoted the biblical passage where Jesus says, reportedly: "If any one of you should cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better that a millstone be tied around your neck and that you be cast in the uttermost depths of the sea."

If I am disbarred, which is the wish of these [Florida Bar] people... I will continue to do what I'm doing on these issues whether they disbar me or not because this is what I was called to do, this is what I was enabled to do more effectively as a lawyer...

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The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 7): Thompson Cross Examines the Bully Case Judge

March 26, 2008 -

For this segment we'll assume that you have at least read Part 6 of GamePolitics' Bar Trial of Jack Thompson, the direct testimony of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman.

What follows is Thompson's cross examination of Judge Friedman, who became a target of Thompson's ire after he refused to grant the controversial attorney's 2006 motion to have Bully declared a public nuisance in Florida.

(In the excerpted transcripts that follow, RF is Judge Ronald Friedman. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

JT: Judge, first things first. My lawsuit wasn't, as you testified, to prohibit the distribution of this game [Bully], was it?

RF: I do believe it was.

JT: Well, let's go to Exhibit 46... page 21 thereof... Why don't you read paragraph D. This is under the caption Injunctive Relief.

RF: "An order prohibiting Take Two from selling all of its mature-rated video games directly or indirectly to anyone under 17 years of age, which practice is violating the strictures of the [ESA] and of the [ESRB] as well as solemn promises made under oath to Congress and to others."

JT: So do you want to change your testimony about what the purpose of the lawsuit was?

RF: No. That's the way I read that.

JT: Prohibit the distribution.

RF: To adults? No. To teenagers, yes.

JT: Okay. I take prohibit to mean prohibit, and that is to prevent the distribution.

RF: That is exactly what it appears to be, to prevent the distribution to anyone under age 17.

JT: Right. Not across the board... But... we didn't have a hearing on that, did we?

RF: We certainly did have some [courtroom] argument.

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 6): Bully Case Judge Testifies

March 25, 2008 -

Whatever you think about Jack Thompson, there are times when he can play the media like a Stradivarius. And so it was that he managed to hold the attention of both the mainstream and gaming press for several weeks in 2006 while he sought to block the release of Rockstar’s Bully in Florida.

Thompson’s unusual suit, which charged that the T-rated Bully was a public nuisance, came before Judge Ronald Friedman on the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. In an early-round win for Thompson, Friedman ordered Take Two to produce the game for an in-chambers viewing prior to its retail launch.

That would be Thompson’s only victory in the case, which quickly turned contentious (anyone surprised?). Thompson blasted Friedman endlessly following the judge’s ruling that he would not grant Thompson's petition to block Bully’s release. Thompson upped the ante by announcing that he would run for Friedman’s seat in 2008. We note that Thompson does not appear to be following through on that claim.

For his part, Judge Friedman wasted little time in filing a complaint against Thompson with the Florida Bar. The Friedman complaint was one of several on which the Bar opted to take Thompson to trial last November. In this multi-part series GamePolitics has been publishing excerpted transcripts from the video game-related portions of the Thompson Bar trial. Today's edition covers the direct testimony of Judge Friedman. Due to the length of Friedman's testimony, Thompson's cross examination of the judge will appear in the next installment.

( In the excerpted transcripts that follow, RF is Judge Ronald Friedman. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

TUMA: Can you tell us what Mr. Thompson asked you to do to make the determination of entering an injunction [to bock the release of Bully]?

RF: He wanted me to review the game and prohibit its distribution, which was scheduled a few days later, maybe a week later.

TUMA: Did you entertain his request?

RF: I did... I heard arguments from both sides. The counsel for the defendants [Take Two] did not think it was necessary to do any of this because under the First Amendment, they had a right to make the distribution.

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 5): 2nd Take Two Attorney Testifies

March 23, 2008 -

Background for today’s testimony: Rebecca Ward was one of two Blank Rome attorneys who testified against Jack Thompson in his November, 2007 Bar trial. Ward, along with James Smith, represented Take Two Interactive and other video game industry defendants in the $600 million Strickland vs Sony lawsuit which Thompson filed in Alabama.

It was upon a motion filed by Smith and Ward that Judge James Moore, in November, 2005, revoked Thompson’s pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the Strickland case, which alleged that a 2004 triple cop killing was prompted by the 18-year-old murderer’s play of Grand Theft Auto.

(Smith and Ward filed a Bar complaint against Thompson and were called to testify at his trial.  In the excerpted transcripts, WARD is Ward. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

TUMA: Can you please identify that exhibit for the Court?

WARD: This is an e-mail... from Mr. Thompson, addressed to me, three other partners at my law firm, and our local counsel in Alabama, dated September 21, 2005.

TUMA: ...can you read the first sentence, please?

WARD: ..."Two of the partners in your firm, James T. Smith and Rebecca D. Ward, have decided to do a very foolish and very unethical thing... Your two partners have also presided over the decision of Rockstar to launch a website and suggest that I am a bisexual pedophile..."

TUMA: Can you tell me at any time if you have presided over the decision of Rockstar to launch a website?

WARD: No. In fact the particular website in question, I didn't even know existed until Mr. Thompson sent this e-mail.

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The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (part 4): Take Two Attorney Testifies Against Thompson

March 21, 2008 -

Background for today's testimony: James Smith was one of two Blank Rome attorneys who testified against Jack Thompson in his November, 2007 Bar trial. Smith, along with Rebecca Ward, represented Take Two Interactive and other video game industry defendants in the $600 million Strickland vs Sony lawsuit which Thompson filed in Alabama.

It was upon a motion filed by Smith and Ward that Judge James Moore, in November, 2005 revoked Thompson's pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the Strickland case, which alleged that a 2004 triple cop killing was prompted by the 18-year-old murderer's play of Grand Theft Auto.

(Smith and Ward filed a Bar complaint against Thompson and were called to testify at his trial.  In the excerpted transcripts, SMITH is Smith. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)

TUMA: Explain to the Court why you filed your Bar complaint in this matter against Mr. Thompson.

SMITH: [Our complaint deals] with a history of the most offensive, abusive conduct that I have ever encountered in the 25 years or so that I have been a lawyer... I continue to get e-mails. I think I got one last week from Mr. Thompson. They have the same menacing tone, the same offensive quality to them. Nothing, in my view, has stopped him and I expect that when I leave here today that he will bombard me -

JT: Your Honor -

SMITH: -and my law firm with more e-mails -

JT: Your Honor, motion to -

SMITH: -because that's what he does.

JT: Your Honor, motion to strike. That's conjecture.

DT: Overruled.

JT: Overruled?

DT: Yes, overruled. Continue.

TUMA: Can you explain to the Court what effect Mr. Thompson's conduct has had on you?

318 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 3): Thompson Cross-Examines Judge Who Kicked Him Off GTA Cop Killer Case

March 20, 2008 -

GP: This article contains lengthy excerpts from controversial attorney Jack Thompson's cross-examination of Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore. That being the case, I'm going to dispense with an intro and assume you've got the back story already. If not, you'll want to check out part 1 and part 2 before you tackle this section...

(We pick up as Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma has completed her direct questioning of Judge James Moore. Thompson begins his cross-examination. In the excerpted transcripts, MOORE is Judge James Moore. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case...)

JT: Judge Moore, did you bring a libel action against me?

MOORE: No.

JT: Why not?

MOORE: Well -

TUMA: Objection to relevancy.

DT: Overruled.

MOORE: Why not?

JT: Yes.

MOORE: Mr. Thompson, I want to have the least amount of contact with you I can have. I don't know how to put it any other way than that. I don't want to see you...

(Thompson turns to the issue of whether he violated Judge Moore's order by sending out press releases about the Alabama "GTA killer" case...)

JT: You say that you entered an order that prevented me from communicating about this particular case. Did you say that?

261 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 2): Judge Who Removed Thompson From Alabama GTA Case Testifies

March 19, 2008 -

This is the second part of an investigative series that Miami attorney Jack Thompson apparently doesn't want you to read.

The game industry nemesis today threatened GamePolitics and its parent company, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) with legal action over GP's detailed coverage of Thompson's recent trial on professional misconduct charges by the Florida Bar.

Thompson's view seems to be that we can't print selected excerpts from the trial testimony, but rather that we have a legal responsibility to report on the testimony of all witnesses, including Thompson, who himself testified for five days.

That's nonsense. That would mean that GP's First Amendment rights are null and void, that we don't get to determine what we print, but rather that Jack Thompson does.

To put it mildly, that's not happening.

264 comments | Read more

The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 1): Accused of Case-Fixing, Alabama Lawyer Fires Back at Thompson

March 18, 2008 -

As previously reported by GamePolitics, Miami attorney and video game industry nemesis Jack Thompson underwent a career-threatening, nine-day trial on Florida Bar misconduct charges late last year.

As might be expected, the proceedings before Judge Dava Tunis produced no small amount of sparks. A ruling on the Bar's case against Thompson has not yet been issued by the Judge. Her decision is expected next month.

In the meantime, Thompson has filed a suit under Florida's False Claims Act against Judge Tunis as well as six justices of the Florida Supreme Court, alleging that written loyalty oaths required under state law were not properly completed, thus invalidating any rulings they might make - including, presumably, any ruling in the Thompson Bar trial. The false claims case is pending.

Although GamePolitics was unable to cover the Thompson Bar trial in person, we have obtained transcripts of the testimony provided by five prosecution witnesses, each of whom relates in some way to Thompson's ongoing crusade against violent video games. Included within the transcripts is Thompson's cross-examination of the witnesses. Some other prosecution witnesses whose testimony did not relate to video game issues were judged to be outside the scope of this GamePolitics investigative report and their testimony will not be included in these articles.

Aside from his own multiple days of testimony, Thompson presented no additional witnesses. GamePolitics does not have transcripts of Thompson's testimony, although we are working to acquire his closing argument. Thompson was offered the opportunity to comment on the Bar trial for this series, but declined to do so. He also declined GP's request to provide the text of his closing argument.

In the first installment of this multi-part series, today's edition of GamePolitics will examine the dramatic testimony of Clatus Junkin, an attorney and former judge from Fayette, Alabama. Junkin was called as the first witness against Thompson by Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma on November 26th, 2007.

183 comments | Read more

 
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Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
 

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