Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Paul Campos now resorting to "blackmail"!

Alas, my hopes for a Campos-free 2014 have been dashed.  After the poll went up last week about whether to identify "dybbuk," the sexist cyber-harasser, I received the following e-mail from  Campos:

From: Paul F Campos [mailto:paul.campos@Colorado.EDU]

Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:03 AM

To: Leiter, Brian

Subject: Dybbuk 

Brian,

I have been asked by somebody who has passed on (unsolicited) some potentially very embarrassing personal information about you to me, regarding your activities in cyberspace and some related goings-on in the real world, to make this information public, should you choose to “out” Dybbuk.

 Paul

I am told by a colleague who teaches criminal law that this threat is blackmail (criminal "intimidation" as we call it in Illinois, or "extortion" or "criminal coercion" as it is in many other jurisdictions).  I have no idea what fabrications Campos would produce this time, but there is nothing truthful he could post, and he knows it.  (Remarkably, this is also not the first time Campos has tried to coerce another law professor with threats.)

Several law professors and lawyers I consulted thought that I should now absolutely name "dybbuk," since it would be wrong to give in to scurrilous threats like this.  On the other hand, I noted last week some of my misgivings about  identifying “dybbuk” (in the final update), and those misgivings remain; and while it is true that Campos and dybbuk are "cyber-buddies," as it were, I have no evidence that "dybbuk" put him up to this malevolent stunt ("dybbuk" is an actual lawyer, who probably knows blackmail when he sees it).  

I'd be especially glad to hear from some of those originally skeptical about naming "dybbuk" how Campos's latest malfeasance should factor into a decision; others with thoughts on this matter are also welcome to post their thoughts:  full name and valid e-mail address required.  If you'd rather not comment in public, I understand--getting on the radar screen, even virtually, of these vile people can be unnerving.  Anyway, if you prefer, feel free to e-mail me instead.

Thanks.  (This is the first week of class, so please be patient if I do not respond in a timely way or if your comments do not appear right away.)

ADDENDUM:  A couple of readers point out the link is to multiple statutes (including the "intimidation" statute); here's the relevant bit of the statute: "A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts...(3) Expose any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule...."    Meanwhile, the tweet by law professor Kevin Heller (Melbourne & London) pretty much sums up the reader reaction so far.

ONE  MORE:  An alert reader calls to my attention that "dybbuk" surfaced on one of the websites where he usually spends his time insulting and ridiculing law professors to make a "statement":  "I had no prior knowledge of Paul Campos’s alleged [sic] email to Brian Leiter, and do not approve of it."  I am inclined to believe him, partly for the reasons noted earlier.  Meanwhile, thanks to other readers for their e-mails.  The funniest response comes from a colleague at Penn whose subject-line read "Campos" and whose e-mail consisted of three words:  "Oh my God."  I do think some readers are having trouble believing he would do something this stupid--even "dybbuk" apparently can't quite believe it!  Alas, it is true.

ANOTHER:  A commenter below writes:

I thought you'd be interested to know that Mr. Campos has posted on JDU [a chat room] the following explanation for his e-mail:  "I contacted Leiter because I assumed he would want to know that someone is trying to get me (and perhaps other people with media platforms) to participate in this person's scheme to embarrass him. And of course this person might act on his or her own."   That's a ridiculous defense given the message he sent and given his clear hatred of you.  Someone in the same chat observed, “In what world does Paul Campos give a shit about fucking Brian Leiter's reputation enough to inform him of a threat to release embarrassing information?”

This "explanation" is remarkably absurd:  if Campos had wanted to warn me of danger, he would have assured me he would never publish such trash, would have warned me about the content, and alerted me to the person making the threat.  I guess he now realizes the mess he is in--"blackmailing" another law professor from his university e-mail account--so he is floating this silly story as a trial balloon to see if anyone is stupid enough to believe it!  Amazing.

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2014/01/paul-campos-now-resorting-to-blackmail.html

Law in Cyberspace, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Comments

Mr. Leiter,

I am a first year attorney. I know very little about your dispute. As a rule of thumb, when you are considering whether to "name (aka "out") somebody from the internet, there is very little reason for it other than to exact retribution and shame the person. Live and let live Mr. Leiter, and turn over a new leaf this new year.

Eric

Posted by: Eric Lightman | Jan 6, 2014 11:51:05 AM

I agree with Mr. Lightman about the ultimate issue (shaming dybbuk), but I thought you'd be interested to know that Mr. Campos has posted on JDU the following explanation for his e-mail: "I contacted Leiter because I assumed he would want to know that someone is trying to get me (and perhaps other people with media platforms) to participate in this person's scheme to embarrass him. And of course this person might act on his or her own." That's a ridiculous defense given the message he sent and given his clear hatred of you. Someone in the same chat observed, “In what world does Paul Campos give a shit about fucking Brian Leiter's reputation enough to inform him of a threat to release embarrassing information?”

Even if Mr. Campos is a jerk, that should not be a reason to out this other person.

BL COMMENT: Thank you for calling that to my attention. The "explanation" Campos gives is remarkably absurd: if he wanted to warn me of danger, he would have assured me he would never publish such trash, would have warned me about the content, and alerted me to the person making the threat. I guess he now realizes the mess he is in--"blackmailing" another law professor from his university e-mail account--so he is floating this silly story as a trial balloon to see if anyone is stupid enough to believe it! Amazing.

Posted by: Bob Sullivan | Jan 6, 2014 5:55:08 PM

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