Actor James Woods is suddenly coming closer to discovering the identity of a Twitter user who called him a "cocaine addict" in 2015, sparking a $10 million defamation lawsuit. Woods, himself known for aggressive, right-wing tweets and name calling, has for months been on a quest to unmask "Abe List," an anonymous Twitter user who last July tweeted, "cocaine addict James Woods still sniffing and spouting." In another tweet, Abe List said, "you are a ridiculous scum clown-boy James, a joke."
Now considering the hatred, harassment, and threats we've routinely witnessed on Twitter, Woods' situation is fairly mild, and many expected the case to be tossed out this month. But in a surprising twist scooped by The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Recana has denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the lawsuit and is instead allowing it to move forward. As a result, it's a very real possibility that the Twitter user's name will be revealed in future proceedings.
This from a guy who tells critics to 'put down the crack pipe'
Twitter has gone on record siding with Abe List, arguing that the "cocaine addict" insult was hyperbolic and rooted in opinion. "The target of the speech is a public figure who purposefully injects himself into public controversies, and there has been no showing of actual malice," Twitter's legal counsel wrote in an August 21st letter. Attempts to hunt down anonymous users for any and every personal slant "would chill the First Amendment rights of speakers who use Twitter's platform to express their thoughts and ideas instantly and publicly, without barriers."
And Twitter's certainly in the right about Woods' tendency to weigh in — never mincing words — on everything from Benghazi and Planned Parenthood to President Obama and the liberal mindset. He has called Al Sharpton a "disgusting pig" and "race pimp"; presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been labeled a "commie scarecrow." In December 2014, Woods accused Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner of "whacking off" to Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And then there's the random chastising of his everyday critics on Twitter.
And yet "cocaine addict" was enough to send Woods over the line and sue someone for millions. "The cruelty of having one's reputation sullied by an anonymous coward is agonizing," he said following Judge Recana's decision. If you say so, James. Lisa Bloom, who represents the (at least for now) anonymous Twitter user, has voiced disagreement with the latest development. "We look forward to presenting the issues to the Court of Appeal," she said. "Mr. Doe is resolved to fight this case for as many months or years as it takes."