Woman sued by horror book author seeks dismissal on First Amendment grounds | KFI AM 640

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A lawsuit filed against a woman by a horror fiction book author alleging she defamed him on Twitter in 2021 by falsely saying he sexually harassed multiple women is ” frivolous” and should be dismissed on free speech grounds, the woman’s attorney argues in new court documents.

Author Matt Hayward’s lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against horror book reviewer Cassie Daley also alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hayward is seeking general and special damages totaling $2.5 million, punitive damages, and an injunction requiring Daley to suppress the statement and not post similar remarks in the future.

“This case concerns the blatant and completely false defamation of a highly respected and beloved author,” the complaint, filed on January 14, states. “Without any basis, defendant Daley said on Twitter that Hayward sexually harassed over 20 women.”

A copy of Daley’s December 8 posting is attached to the complaint. Hayward, who lives in Ireland, suffered loss of business opportunity and damage to his reputation, the lawsuit alleges.

But in court papers filed Wednesday by Daley’s attorneys, Hayward, a well-known horror author, sent “creepy and harassing sexual messages to many women online” and then later apologized for the ‘have done.

“Now, apparently distraught at having faced the consequences of his own actions, he has sued Ms. Daley, who criticizes horror novels and is a freelance artist, for speaking candidly about what happened to her,” say the Daley’s lawyers in their anti-SLAPP. movement.

The state’s anti-SLAPP law — strategic lawsuit against public participation — aims to prevent people from using the courts and potential threats of lawsuits to intimidate those who exercise their First Amendment rights.

Daley’s lawyers call Hayward’s lawsuit “frivolous” and say in their court documents that the truthfulness of Daley’s statements is evident in Hayward’s own words both publicly and in messages he sent Daley as well. than to other women who have come out publicly about him by sending them unsolicited sex. messages. As an author, Hayward is “at least a limited-purpose public figure” and Daley was speaking on an issue – sexual harassment – which is “‘intrinsically a matter of public interest,’ Daley’s attorneys further say. in their court documents.

In an affidavit filed July 14, Daley says she lives in Fair Oaks, Sacramento County and is an “independent artist and horror book reviewer”, lives on a “tight budget” and publishes on a blog, Instagram and Twitter on horror literature as part of a “community of horror literature lovers and authors”.

Daley says the statements Hayward maintains are defamatory regarding messages he sent to her in 2019.

“Mr. Hayward was sending me scary sexual messages…and he couldn’t help it because I was ‘just unbelievably hot,'” Daley says.

Hayward associated his comments with “pseudo-apologies that were really apologies and often contained scarier sexual comments in the same sentence as the apology,” according to Daley.

“These messages were unwelcome to say the least and made me very uncomfortable, but I tried to remain civil,” according to Daley.

Daley further says that she later learned that other women had received sexual messages from Hayward, convincing her that speaking out was important.

“I continued to receive messages about Mr. Hayward sending unsolicited sexual messages for some time after that,” Daley said. “In all, at least 10 people have come forward via direct messages on social media, mostly via my old Instagram account.”

Daley also referenced a June 2020 blog post by horror author Brian Keene stating that his wife, Mary SanGiovanni, also received inappropriate messages from Hayward.

“As with my experience, Mr. Hayward excused his behavior by saying he had been intoxicated,” Daley said. “When I found out I was being sued I got scared and spoke to a parent who is a paralegal in Florida who told me it was important to respond to complaints. I couldn’t pay the application fee for my response so I had to fundraise to be able to pay the fee which was difficult as I couldn’t tell people exactly why I needed the money I didn’t know either plus how I could get to court 400 miles away and with no accommodation in Los Angeles.”

Daley’s motion to dismiss the Hayward case is set to be heard Nov. 8 by Judge Kevin C. Brazile.

Grover Z. Barnes