Actor James Woods is fighting a defamation lawsuit over comments he reportedly made on Twitter about a protester at a Donald Trump rally last year (16).
Activist Portia Boulger, who supported Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders in the run up to the presidential election in November (16), filed legal action against the Shark star in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on 3 March (17), claiming Woods did not do enough to clear her name after reposting a Chicago Tribune picture of a woman at a city Trump rally doing the Nazi salute in March, 2016.
A Twitter user going by the name of @voxday initially falsely identified the female as Boulger, and Woods shared the information on his account, asking followers, “So-called #Trump ‘Nazi’ is a #BernieSanders agitator/operative?”.
@voxday subsequently corrected the identification mix-up, instead naming the lady as Birgitt Peterson of Illinois, but Woods reportedly failed to remove his retweet, which was shared 5,000 times.
Boulger hired an attorney to deal with the fall out, asking Woods to delete the inaccurate post and issue a public apology, and while he shared a clarification, stating, “Portia A. Boulger was NOT the ‘Nazi salute lady'”, he did not pull the original tweet from his profile.
She had also requested Woods urge his followers not to harass her online, which he did, although he still stopped short of expressing his sorrow at the whole incident.
Boulger is now demanding at least $1 million in compensatory damages and at least $2 million in punitive damages.
However, Woods‘ attorney, Michael E. Weinsten of Lavely & Singer, is blasting the lawsuit as “bogus”, insisting his client did nothing wrong.
A statement issued to the Chillicothe Gazette reads: “My client is no doubt surprised by this patently bogus lawsuit.
“In response to a rumor circulating on the internet about Ms. Boulger’s alleged affiliation with a Trump rally, Mr. Woods tweeted a question seeking clarification. On its face, that is not defamation. In fact, Mr. Woods went out of his way to defend Ms. Boulger against alleged harassment. This case proves the adage ‘no good deed goes unpunished.'”