No doubt this happens pretty regularly. You are writing a response on a public forum and out pops a pro-wind advocate who says you are nothing but a ‘denier’, or a ‘coal-burner’, or whatever. It’s a poke to engage you, so you don’t because that’s not why you are there – stick to your message to the intended recipient.
But what about when they start saying flat out lies, that are serious, without any facts to back them up? I get it, thoroughly, when one makes a statement you need to substantiate. In the case of NextEra’s lawsuit against me, calling them NexTerror and NextError, I easily had over sixty links to recent news article of “errors” and “terrors” they had committed in our neighbourhoods, and I’m sure many more could be added today.
Two days ago I had a discussion with Tide… yes “Tide”, as in laundry detergent. There was an annoying ad that kept popping up on Facebook with twirling white turbines around their new scent-free laundry detergent, and they told us “the formula is made with 100% renewable wind power electricity.” I replied, as it is pretty much one’s duty to explain the negative environmental effects of wind turbines to such companies when this happens.
Then an employee of Brookfield Renewables, Jeremey Davidson, popped in with the usual, “Ester [sic] wants her detergent made with nuclear or stinky coal power.” Whatever. Ignore. To Tide I sent links to American Bird Conservancy articles, the Bird Studies Canada recent report, and the picture of NextEra cutting down the eagle nest.
Then I get this. →
Apparently “we” lit a nacelle on fire. I’m very open about what I have done in the line of protesting, so those that know me know that vandalism has never been part of it. What I do, I always make sure I can stand by morally and ethically with no regrets. To be accused of lighting a wind turbine component on fire (when I’m not great with fires and have a fear of heights) serves only one purpose for Mr. Davidson – to discredit me, and other protesters. We were now collectively labelled criminals because of his statement.
I thought he might retract this blatant lie if we pointed it out to him, but he just became more adamant.
Do we just let him go and let his fancy, defamatory story stand? No, not this time. He crossed a line. The line accusing me and others of being criminals when we are far from it. I get this enough because of the lawsuit, as if being sued instantly makes you a criminal. Whenever I have to explain that I was sued to someone I meet, they are usually shocked and then I get, “So Esther, that means you are a… criminal?”
Yeah. Get that enough times and it you realize what an unchallenged statement can do to your reputation. A SLAPP is a sneaky way to accomplish defamation, legally.
So I write Jeremy’s employers that morning in hopes they can quickly inform him that this is bull and he needs to remove it. I come home from work to find there is still no response recieved, so I write again. This time it is much more pointed, asking for a written public apology and adding, “If Brookfield Renewables doesn’t take action to reverse these false statements, that have not been backed up with any facts when requested, then I’ll have to assume that Brookfield Renewables agrees with Mr. Davidson and promotes his use of libel to spread false messages about people who may oppose Brookfield’s wind turbine operations, in order to damage the opponent’s reputations.”
And ta da a response arrives exactly 13 minutes later.
Ms. Wrightman, we received your email today and I have forwarded it to my colleagues in our operations so they may look into your inquiry. Please allow them some time to review and follow up. Thank you.
Before long the defamatory statements against us are taken down from Tide’s Facebook, and the next morning this apology of sorts is posted:
The truth comes out. He simply saw a damaged nacelle and made a huge assumption that it was me and other ‘protesters’ who “lit it on fire”. That was more than a story, that’s a lie he concocted. He may as well have assumed NextEra lit it themselves based on the ‘proof’ he had.
When NextEra cut down the eagle nest, no assumptions were made by the public. NextEra did it. They admitted it. There were news stories. There were pictures, and a video. It was a fact. That’s the difference between truth and lies.