Last Friday, I did what I've done every Friday for quite some time. I hosted an Open Mike entry where folks can comment about whatever's on their mind.
I've maintained this blog for over ten years, and in that time I've received 47348 comments on 11744 entries. 69 of those comments were on this particular Open Mike entry, and one has resulted in a rather threatening cease and desist letter from a lawyer representing Brian Burke.
The anonymous comment reiterated a rumour that's been all over the place this past month. I myself have heard this Brian Burke rumour from many different sources, but have never written about it here because I don't believe it to be true. In fact, I wrote this comment on January 18, 2013 at 18:14 in response:
The rumour about Burke is everywhere, but that doesn't make it true. It's not fair to Burke or Hazel Mae to treat such scandalous speculation as fact.
I've already removed the offending comment. I'm simply not in the mood to be bullied by lawyers over an anonymous comment on my blog. The cease and desist letter, however, didn't just ask me to remove the comment, it wanted me to pass on all information I have "concerning the individual noted above who published or republished this story, and of any other individual who has published or republished the whole of the “news story”" on TorontoMike.com. That's something I'm not willing to do.
I am many things, but I am not a lawyer. I'm going to reproduce the letter in its entirety below in the hopes you'll share with me your opinion and advice. Perhaps one of you is a lawyer or knows a lawyer? Here's the letter I received earlier today.
We are legal counsel for Mr. Brian Burke. Mr. Burke is extremely concerned about a defamatory “story” being posted about him in various places to the effect that he is the father of Hazel Mae’s child. The “story” also contains many other defamatory statements about Mr. Burke.
It has come to our attention that the “story” was posted in response to your “Mid-January Open Mike” blog on January 18, 2013 at 20:14 by “Anonymous”.
While you referred to the “story” as scandalous speculation, it remains posted on your web site. We trust you are aware of the legal consequences of the publication and re-publication of the postings. Please immediately remove this posting from your web site, and any similar postings on your web site which publish or republish the defamatory statements noted above in whole, or in part, or in substance.
If you do not remove the posting we have identified and any other similar postings from your web site, we have instructions to commence legal proceedings to protect Mr. Burke’s reputation and interests.
Please also provide us with any and all information you have concerning the individual noted above who published or republished this story, and of any other individual who has published or republished the whole of the “news story” on your web site. Mr. Burke wishes to discover the author of the story. If you do not provide us with such information, we have instructions to commence legal proceedings in order to obtain a court order that you provide that information to us and pay Mr. Burke’s costs of having to obtain the court’s assistance.
We look forward to hearing from you immediately.
H. David Edinger
Heenan Blaikie LLP
2200 – 1055 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC, V6E 2E9
I've yet to reply back...