Conrunner Ryan Kopf charged Nerd & Tie newsblogger Trae Dorn with defamation in a lawsuit filed December 14 in Iowa.
Kopf is the organizer of several Midwestern conventions – Anime-ZAP!, QC Anime-Zing!, AniMinnapolis, Anime Midwest, Meta Con and Con Alt Delete.
The suit responds to a pair of Nerd & Tie articles published last summer.
- “Ryan Kopf’s Anime California Harasses, Threatens Maid Cafe Operators After They Refuse To Sign Over Ownership” reported allegations that Kopf’s company engaged in unscrupulous business practices.
- “AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf Allegedly Attacks Vendor During MetaCon 2015” reported that Kopf’s effort to remove a vendor selling bootleg merchandise turned into a physical confrontation (a story picked up by File 770 in “Rough Justice at Meta Con”). Kopf allegedly punched vendor David Silvieus, a fight ensued, and one of Kopf’s friends claims to have physically subdued Silvieus.
In the suit, Kopf denies what is alleged about him in the two stories.
Trae Dorn published statements on Nerd & Tie’s website on or about August 6, 2015, and September 8, 2015, which falsely represented that the Plaintiff had physically assaulted a vendor at a convention he was running, that his business had harassed another business, and that impinged on his integrity, moral character, and professional reputation.
Kopf is asking for actual and punitive damages, plus an injunction ordering Dorn to remove the defamatory posts and avoid posting future defamatory statements.
Kopf, on his own blog, elaborated his reasons for filing suit. His real complaint seems to be the amount of coverage he is receiving.
…a blogger… has written several articles about me calling me sketchy and a “villain.” He writes a new article after almost every convention I run.
No other non-famous person receives that level of attention.
And when he says “villain,” we’re not talking the villains of the trope where the villain turns out to be a good guy like Megamind, nor the villains of the slightly-realty-bending-mind of some writers at Cracked.com.
In these stories I don’t even get to be a super-villain.
I do not claim my conventions are perfect. We have had complaints and problems like any other conventions. We have dealt with things like complaints of shortages of free ramen in our ConSweet to complaints on social media about registration line that reached a peak of two hours long at our largest convention. But countless other conventions have had a few problems, often far worse.
From arrests to bankruptcy, none of which apply to me, none of these conventions have earned the same level of exhaustive coverage I have….
Trae Dorn of Nerd & Tie says he will fight the suit. He has started a GoFundMe appeal to defray the expenses.
Now, I don’t want to discuss details, but I still stand by what I wrote – as do Nick and Pher (who co-own Nerd & Tie with me). I have secured legal counsel, and intend to fight. But this isn’t going to be cheap for me….
Right now I’m asking for $3,000 which will cover my initial legal costs. I will probably end up needing more, but this is where we’re starting.
People have donated $1,285 in the first three days.
Dorn has posted a copy of the lawsuit here.