Defamation case between two trans (relating to cause-suicide allegation)


it is Erlick vs. White (@EliErlick v. @BlairWhite), filed today in the SDNY:

10. Ms. Erlick is a trans woman, activist, and graduate student.

11. Defendant White has a history of assaulting other trans individuals, recognized by New York courts. “[S]Since January 2017, White has occasionally created and uploaded episodes of a video series titled ‘Triggering Tro’.[*]nnies’ that denigrate people who identify as ‘trans’.… In this court’s view, all of these comments can fairly be described as ‘queer slurs’ because they were clearly intended to insult.” Straka v. Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Cmty. Ctr., Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op. 32116 (NY Sup. Ct. 2020).

12. In or about August 2022, Defendant White sent Ms. Erlick a private, social media message stating his (White’s) intent to make a video about Erlick.

13. That message reads: “Hey Ellie, any statement on the allegations of sexual abuse and/or your admitted plan to illegally drug children? I’ll make a video on this. Thanks!”

14. Ms. Erlick provided a response, inter alia, by linking a full response to the relevant section, saying, “I wrote a response to them a few years ago. [e.g. the person who made an accusation of sexual abuse] Deleted their complaint.”

15. Defendant White and Ms. Ehrlick exchanged several other messages before the conversation ended, demonstrating that Defendant White saw or had access to the message described above.

16. As detailed below, Defendant White would accuse Ms. Erlick of sexually assaulting and—most importantly, by Defendant White’s own account—the death of the person who made the accusation (Danny).

17. The link provided by Ms. Erlick to Defendant White directs the viewer to a Tumblr post authored and published by Ms. Erlick on August 5th, 2016 and edited by Ms. Erlick in December, 2018.

18. At the top of the post, and seen immediately upon clicking the link, indicates that Danny was alive.

19. Upon information and belief, Defendant White read and understood that Danny was alive.

20. Vase is alive

21. Had Defendant White undertaken even the most cursory diligence—let alone industry standard diligence—he would have been able to discover
Danny himself was alive…

Here’s more. As I read the complaint, the specific statement Erlick is alleging is defamatory is:

Defendant White’s statements were false and defamatory in that they falsely reported that Danny had died, and that a reasonable person could have inferred Defendant White’s statements to mean that Mrs. Erlick caused that death.

That portion of the complaint does not list allegations of sexual assault or allegations of “having a legal drug trafficking scheme targeting minors” as defamatory, although the rest of the complaint appears to indicate that Erlick denies those allegations.