The ‘Skanks in NYC’ Soap Opera: Will Google Be Sued?
By JR Raphael
Soap opera fans, listen up: The Liskula Cohen “Skanks in NYC” debacle is turning into quite the saucy story. In one corner, we have the former Vogue cover girl who claims she’s been defamed by a blogger’s harsh words. In the other, we have the blogger — anonymous until a recent court order unmasked her — who now claims she’s the one who’s been wronged.
But wait…there’s more. Our model and blogger, it seems, are no strangers: The two women were reportedly acquaintances on Manhattan’s fashion scene and, according to some newly published accounts, may have even had an ongoing quarrel involving the blogger’s ex-boyfriend.
Confused? Aroused? Hungry for a hamburger? Whatever the case may be, keep reading. The story only gets stranger.
The Supermodel-Blogger Backstory
Before you start screaming out “cat fight,” let’s review what brought us to this point. The twisted tale began back in August of last year, when a then-anonymous blogger built a site at Google’s Blogger service entitled “Skanks in NYC.” The blog took on fashion model Liskula Cohen, a 37-year-old former supermodel who had previously made headlines with an unfortunate bottle-smashing run-in involving a Manhattan doorman.
Postings at the blog called Cohen a “skank” and “old hag” and employed such colorful adjectives as “psychotic,” “lying,” and “whoring.” Cohen called the blog defamatory and asked Google for its writer’s name. When Google wouldn’t comply, she turned to the New York Supreme Court, which ruled last week that Google had to reveal the blogger’s identity.
Whew…still with me? Good. Here’s what’s happening now.
Meet the Blogger
Over the weekend, the “Skanks in NYC” blogger stepped out of the shadows and spoke to the New York Daily News. The woman — identified as Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (and, by some accounts, unemployed night club hostess) — tells the Daily News Cohen “defamed herself” by making such a big deal out of the small-scale blog.
“Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: one from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it,” Port tells the Daily News. “That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated.”
Hang on, though: We’re not even at the juiciest part yet. Port now says she’s going to file a lawsuit of her own — against Google. Her attorney tells the Daily News she’ll accuse Google of “breach[ing] its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity” (or, in regular English, not protecting Port’s right to speak freely and anonymously). Port’s demand: $15 million in damages.
The blogger-model beef, the Daily News reports, actually began some time ago, when Cohen (the model) “badmouthed” Port (the blogger) to Port’s former boyfriend.
I told you: “Days of Our Lives” simply can’t compete with this plot.
Conclusions and Predictions
Liskula Cohen’s crew, not surprisingly, is shooting down the blogger’s claims that she brought this whole thing upon herself. An attorney is quoted as saying if Cohen and her advisors had “thought for a minute that the Google case would have brought more attention to the anonymous blogger’s site, [they] never would have started it.”
(I don’t possess any kind of crystal ball, personally, but I could have looked at this situation six months ago and told you it was going to generate an awful lot of attention. But maybe I just have unrealized clairvoyant powers.)
Here’s the kicker of it all: Cohen now says she won’t pursue any legal action against the insult-slingin’ blogger, despite the whole mask-melting (and publicity-generating) process.
So, all combined, what do we have on our hands? As far as I’m concerned, the odd events and back-and-forth bickering lead to only one logical conclusion: Our two gal pals are actually working in tandem to set the stage for an upcoming VH1 reality show. It’ll have a title along the lines of “Celebrity Blog Battle.” A wresting ring, lots of baby oil, and Bret Michaels will presumably all be involved.
Just remember, you heard it here first.
JR Raphael makes plenty of oil-soaked predictions at eSarcasm, his new geek humor site. You can follow his random musings on Twitter: @jr_raphael.
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