On November 10th, John Oliver devoted the bulk of his brilliant show, Last Week Tonight, to explaining SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). As a member of the national Protect the Protest coalition, CLDC could not be happier to see this important topic discussed in both an accessible (and, frankly, hilarious) way for a mass audience. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what a SLAPP is until one hits us.
Deep-pocketed corporate bullies have a long, shameful track record of filing SLAPP suits to intimidate climate justice and other progressive activists and organizations. And they keep filing them, for the sole purpose of draining activists’ resources, wasting their time (which impacts the effort that people can contribute to social movements), and causing anxiety. All of these factors create a chilling effect that harms the exercise of free speech. Examples include defamation (libel and slander) lawsuits against people for simply speaking out against corporate wrongdoing.
We hope you will watch this episode and share it with your friends and fellow activists so that we can spread awareness about the kind of harm SLAPPs do — even though they are usually defeated in court, as they are legally baseless, even though they can appear to be legitimate on the surface.
Content warning: The video contains explicit language (NSFW) that some may find offensive and/or inappropriate, but it does feature a very entertaining squirrel and too many quips to share here! Make some popcorn and prepare to laugh!