Let this be a lesson to you all: if you sell tickets to a New Year's Eve party boasting an open bar, make sure that the booze doesn't run out at 10:30.
Fail in that, and people will trash you on the internet, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it, even if you sue the operator of the offending website for defamation.
That's exactly what happened to Anthony DiMeo, III, a self-proclaimed model/actor/PR-firm-owner/blueberry-heir. After his public relations company threw a disastrous New Year's party, posters to the TuckerMax.com message boardssavaged his name, reputation, appearance, sexual predilections and just about every other aspect of his personality imaginable.
DiMeo sued Tucker Max, the operator of the eponymous site, in 2006 and created an instant classic cyber lawsuit. Not so much for the law involved - which the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals last week declared to be in Max's favor - but for a backstory involving alcohol, theft, betrayal and suggestions of gorilla-fisting.
The plaintiff and the player
Both DiMeo and Max are tireless self-promoters with flamboyant web presences. DiMeo's site emphasizes his supposed PR abilities, his philanthropy, his acting and modeling career and his family's blueberry farm. Max's claim to fame is that he is a drunken asshole who likes to write about being a drunken asshole.
DiMeo purports to run a Philadelphia-based PR firm, Renamity, focusing on special events, club promotions and exhibiting a strange fascination with Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.
Max runs a website chronicling his booze-soaked misadventures and lechery, and turned his lurid tales into a bestselling book. He also acts as the administrator for a number of message boards on a wide range of topics where the discourse usually crests at around a 10th grade level.
Neither party in the lawsuit was a stranger to the courtroom when the action commenced. DiMeo had previously sued a Philadelphia Weekly gossip columnist for publicizing and ridiculing a Christmas card he emailed to friends and family, and Max had previously defended a suit by two-time Miss Vermont, Katy Johnson, after Max posted embarrassing and intimate details about their relationship on his site.
DiMeo had received mentions on the TuckerMax.com message boards before the party debacle, always the object of much scorn and derision, but things reached a fever pitch after New Year's Eve 2005.