Autism center sues over blog posts calling it a fraud and worse

7 Sep

The idea that an autism center would sue over blog posts is the sort of story that would, of course, attract my attention. But when I saw the blurb for Autism center sues over blog posts calling it a fraud and worse I was taken back to the before time of autism blogging.

Here’s what I read:

Autism Intervention Specialists of Worcester and principal Nassim Aoude today filed a federal libel suit against a New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” because it refuses to accept his theory that autism is caused by mercury in…

For those who have been online for a few years, guessing the identity of the “New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” “, especially readers of this blog, making the ID would probably be easy. Here’s a bit from the story:

Autism Intervention Specialists of Worcester and principal Nassim Aoude today filed a federal libel suit against a New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” because it refuses to accept his theory that autism is caused by mercury in vaccines.

In its suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, Autism Intervention Specialists wants John Best’s blog posts about it replaced with retractions and a suitably large, if unspecified, amount of damages.

John Best was one of the early generation of Generation Rescue’s “Rescue Angels” but even GR wanted distance from him. Mr. Best attacked a number of people online in years past. Autism Intervention Specialists is neither the first nor the last to be attacked.

I am a bit conflicted about this lawsuit. Freedom of speech is very important to me (even outside of writing). Autism Intervention Specialists may be in for a mini Streisand Effect. Aside from the fact that recovering damages from Mr. Best is unlikely at best, AIS should read Mr. Best’s writing and his YouTube videos and ask whether any reasonable person would give Mr. Best any credibility whatsoever.

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32 Responses to “Autism center sues over blog posts calling it a fraud and worse”

  1. Science Mom September 7, 2012 at 01:41 #

    Well I guessed before you revealed the name. I don’t know if that is something to be proud of though. I agree with the conflict over free speech. But if he is interfering with their business using (knowingly) fraudulent claims then this non-lawyer believes that the plaintiffs have the basis for a case. Given who the defendent is, it will be an uphill battle for the plaintiffs.

  2. Goldy September 7, 2012 at 02:59 #

    This just gives publicity to those who feel the mercury debate is far from over. This guy is doing a favor to those of us that want proper scientific studies on the issue. Big guns Big money and Big Lawyers to shoot down those who have questions unanswered just makes us really angry and more defensive. Our numbers are growing – especially among the more well educated.

    • Science Mom September 7, 2012 at 04:38 #

      This guy is doing a favor to those of us that want proper scientific studies on the issue.

      You really don’t have any idea what you are talking about. Jumping Jeebus you don’t even know who this bloke is but he’s singing your tune so you just mindlessly throw your support behind him. He’s a foul, vile psychopath whose own “people” have distanced themselves from him. Geez Goldy, don’t you have a street corner somewhere to throw down your foolishness?

      Our numbers are growing – especially among the more well educated.

      An oft used but very misleading stat. Vaccine refusal is among those without any science education and if you are including yourself, far from any relevant education whatsoever.

      • Chris September 7, 2012 at 04:44 #

        He’s a foul, vile psychopath whose own “people” have distanced themselves from him.

        Whose wife left him, he has only limited contact with his son, he lost his job and his house was seized. I’m sure Goldy thinks he a hero.

  3. Science Mom September 7, 2012 at 04:54 #

    Whose wife left him, he has only limited contact with his son, he lost his job and his house was seized. I’m sure Goldy thinks he a hero.

    Peas in a pod I’d say. They both have an extraordinary disdain for children.

  4. lilady September 7, 2012 at 07:29 #

    Why doesn’t Goldy look for John Best on YouTube? He claims to be an *investment counselor* who is self-taught in medical sciences. He’s just an ignorant nasty old crank who despises kids.

    Lotsa luck, trying to get monetary damages for defamation, out of him.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 12, 2012 at 17:57 #

      It looks like a lot of his YouTube stuff is gone. I could be wrong, but I don’t see it. The ones I saw had references to the Rothschilds and possibly even Illuminati, some strange views on economics and worse.

  5. Clay September 7, 2012 at 11:52 #

    Unfortunately, I’ve known of Best for a long time, and have seen him kicked off of many venues, just for being the unmitigated (!) he is. I gotta say, this story really makes me smile!

  6. Lisa Jo Rudy September 7, 2012 at 13:20 #

    So… does the organization have a case? I have to say that it seems unlikely! I mean, if saying mean and possibly untrue things about a person or organization could lead to a lawsuit, wouldn’t Paul Offit be rolling in money paid by the editors of Age of Autism? Wouldn’t every politician in America be suing every blogger or pundit who says things like “this guy is a liar?”

    Sign me confused.

    Lisa

    • Patty September 7, 2012 at 16:17 #

      Lisa,

      People have free speech to an extent. There is a fine line between free speech and defamation of character and slander. Yes, speaking untrue statements about an organization can lead to devastating laws suits. It’s a matter of opinion vs facts. Look up how may organizations sued and won after being defamed with untrue statements. Am I saying it will be easy, no, but likely. We have free speech to the limit of affecting others in a negative way to some extent. That’s what Best has done.

      A

      • Lisa Jo Rudy September 7, 2012 at 16:27 #

        Well, I’ll stay tuned. I have to say that if Best can be sued by this group, it certainly opens to the doors to an awful lot of suits within the autism world in general.

        Just out of curiosity: do you think there’s a distinction between comments made, say, in a formal blog, column or publication versus comments made as a response to a blog? In other words, I write “X is true” in my blog, and a commenter responds saying “you’re a liar and a no good bum, and everything you say is full of $$%^.” Would that be considered defamation of character, or just some dude saying what he thinks?

        Lisa

      • Chris September 7, 2012 at 17:26 #

        I linked to the complaint above, it has some very interesting remarks. Also the Nature of the Suit is “Torts – Injury – Assault, Libel, and Slander”.

        Offit has too many targets to sue, so it is really not worth his time. What is more important is that he has not lost the two suits against him. Plus the changes he did to Autism’s False Prophets due to one lawsuit makes the person sound even worse, but it is documented.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 12, 2012 at 18:04 #

        “Just out of curiosity: do you think there’s a distinction between comments made, say, in a formal blog, column or publication versus comments made as a response to a blog?”

        Depends on where you are. When this blog was UK based, we worked under UK laws. At that time, the blog owner could be held responsible for comments allowed on the blog. Since Kev is no longer writing, I chose to take the blog over so that he would not be liable for comments either by me or others on this site.

        In the U.S., I think there is a difference between the comments made within an article and those made by others. That doesn’t mean that there should be a free-for-all in the comments either.

    • Science Mom September 7, 2012 at 17:09 #

      wouldn’t Paul Offit be rolling in money paid by the editors of Age of Autism?

      I’m not a lawyer but I do like to stay abreast of these types of issues. Just because Dr. Offit hasn’t filed any defamation suits against the AoA clowns, doesn’t mean he couldn’t and likely win. I’m not his representative but I would hazard a guess he isn’t interested in wrestling with pigs.

      Just out of curiosity: do you think there’s a distinction between comments made, say, in a formal blog, column or publication versus comments made as a response to a blog? In other words, I write “X is true” in my blog, and a commenter responds saying “you’re a liar and a no good bum, and everything you say is full of $$%^.” Would that be considered defamation of character, or just some dude saying what he thinks?

      It’s dodgy ground for certain but I guess it would depend upon the content and the effect upon the blogger. Is it an opinion or is it an utterance of known falsity? Also, as a blogger, don’t you kind of open yourself up to the wilds of the internet and presumably control the comments?

      • Lisa Jo Rudy September 7, 2012 at 17:28 #

        I’m sure you’re right about the comments, science mom. It’s just an interesting question to me!

      • khymchanur September 7, 2012 at 22:17 #

        I’m not a lawyer but I do like to stay abreast of these types of issues. Just because Dr. Offit hasn’t filed any defamation suits against the AoA clowns, doesn’t mean he couldn’t and likely win.

        Since Offit is a public figure, he would have to show “actual malice”, meaning he’d have to show that the defendant either knew or suspected that what they were saying was false. However, because the AoA people actually believe what they say about him, there’s no actual malice to prove, and he wouldn’t win. And even if he could win, I think he wouldn’t want to give them the free publicity it would entail, nor would he want to make martyrs out of them.

      • Patty September 9, 2012 at 21:42 #

        I have done much research and Autism Intervention Specialists are not “bloggers”. They are a reputable organization which you can check out at http://www.autismspecialty.com. You can view the testimonials of parents which match up to the friends of the CEO’s personal FB page (increasing the likelihood of their validity). Best came out of nowhere, attacking this organization, citing that they use Applied Behavior Analysis, but should be using chelation (which has been banned due to the negative side effects up to and including DEATH) to remove mercury from the brain instead.

        As a mother of a child with autism, I am aware that ABA is the only scientifically proved behavioral method effective at treating autism, and Bests’ blogs attacked not only the credibility of the organization saying they are thieves, pulling the wool over their clients’ eyes in order to steal their money, but also attacked the founder, calling him a thief among other criminal accusations. This is defamation of character and slander, and of course has effected the ability for this organization to operate without this air of conspiracy around them due to Bests’ easily searchable blogs.

        Best KNOWS ABA is the only scientifically proved behavioral method effective at treating autism, and also knows that chelation is not evidence based and has side effects which have KILLED children, which makes his statements against AIS and its founder slander and defamation of character. This is the fine line Best has crossed. In order to understand what is happening here, one must read the entire AIS complaint which is available online and also the blogs which Best wrote against AIS and its founder. These were not two bloggers attacking each other… this was Best attacking AIS and its founder… AIS and its founder never opened themselves up for what they received from Best… they simply try to help families affected by autism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 12, 2012 at 18:35 #

        “Since Offit is a public figure”

        I think he is a limited public figure. He is a public figure in the field of medicine and vaccines, certainly. I think within those areas there is latitude to discuss what he has said.

        One can not say anything about a public figure (limited or not).

        What is interesting to me in this case goes beyond what Mr. Best believes. Did he use his beliefs to attack the organization in order to cause harm out of retribution?

        It is one thing to say, “I disagree vehemently with what you’ve said”. It is another to say, “I dislike you, so therefore I will attack you with whatever tools I have at my disposal”.

        There are bloggers out there writing pure fantasy at times. That’s a whole other discussion.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 12, 2012 at 18:38 #

        “I have done much research and Autism Intervention Specialists are not “bloggers”.”

        I don’t think anyone has suggested this. A few of the commenters here are writers on one or more blogs. Their questions relate to the more general question of comments and statements on blogs and when and which people are responsible for the comments.

  7. Todd W. September 7, 2012 at 19:58 #

    @Lisa Jo Rudy

    Depending on the nature of the comment and its effect, a blogger could sue for defamation. The blogger would have to prove that the comments met the definition of defamation and that they suffered some manner of harm as a result of those comments. They might also need to prove that the comment was made with malicious intent, since it could be argued that the blogger is a public figure. Not a lawyer, though, so take all that with a grain of salt.

    • Patty September 9, 2012 at 22:01 #

      “The blogger would have to prove that the comments met the definition of defamation and that they suffered some manner of harm as a result of those comments. They might also need to prove that the comment was made with malicious intent, since it could be argued that the blogger is a public figure. ”

      Todd, if you read the complaint, you will see how malicious the intent of Bests’ blogs are… as TLPG writes below, AIS has reportedly lost clients because of the blogs which are defamatory, untrue (with knowledge) and written with the intent to harm…

      In fact, if you Google the companies, names, both Bests’ blogs show up of the first page… how could this not affect the company negatively… in my opinion, Best is going down.

  8. TLPG September 9, 2012 at 12:50 #

    I already knew about this as I have Best’s blog on feed, and I found out about this entry via another fool (*cough cough* J Mitchell *cough cough*). When I read Best’s entry and then the eight page document I wasted no time with an email to Nassim’s lawyer telling him about You Tube (that channel in fact is empty last I looked, but I did keep some of his gems), and I also told him about Best’s other blog – we know the one. He got back to me telling me knew already how Best operates. I can confirm that the key issue as stated in the claim that a number of prospective clients refused to deal with AIS after they read Best’s garbage. That’s lost income, which is definitely actionable.

    Where’s this claim that he is trying to settle out of court?? He never tried that with me!! Yes, my action against him is still alive and the trial is very soon – and contrary to rumour, my website is still online.

    • Patty September 9, 2012 at 21:46 #

      TLPG,

      I agree one hundred percent… I read the entire agreement and saw the section which describes exactly how AIS was affected by the blogs… their is no doubt in my mind that the autism center has Bests’ number… it was only a matter of time that Bests’ blogs caught up with him. He should have kept his nose out of business which he has no knowledge of and doesn’t concern him.

    • Patty September 9, 2012 at 22:02 #

      TLPG,

      Where did you hear that Best “is trying to settle out of court”??

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 9, 2012 at 22:16 #

      You have Best’s blog on feed? I forget about him for months at a time.

      • TLPG September 10, 2012 at 05:42 #

        That’s you, Matt. I prefer to fight him instead of ignore him. The AIS experience shows well what damage can be done via that tactic. I respond to every entry on HA after quoting him word for word, and make it clear to the world who and what he really is. Yes, we all know what he’s about here on LB-RB. But that’s not the majority of the world per se.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 10, 2012 at 19:46 #

        to be clear–this is my choice. I’m not claiming it is better or worse.

      • TLPG September 11, 2012 at 00:36 #

        I never said you did.

  9. Patty September 15, 2012 at 06:35 #

    Thank you TLPG for showing me where it said he was settling. I couldn’t believe this was true since no one has ever been able to make this idiot shut up before. This company must be for real! They did us all a favor… maybe he will now get hit by a car and die… wishful thinking.

    It looks like he removed all the hurtful blogs against AIS. Also looks like he knew he was spewing bullshit once again, but this time he was caught by an individual/company large enough to make him pay if he didn’t take it back.

    And I agree with everything you say. This guy is a pathetic loser. Not only did he hurt this organization by making parents think they were “thieves” and that the Founder was “stealing” from them, he kept anyone and everyone susceptible to false information on the net from contacting this very reputable company for beneficial services they may not have found anywhere else. He is truly the Devil. That, to me, is a crime! At the least, since ABA is the only scientifically proven method effective with autism, and Best and the rest of the world knows this, at a minimum he would have been found guilty of slander and defamation of character. Why would have close to 40 states passed ABA autism insurance reform laws if ABA didn’t work?

    At least we will never have to see those posts again.

    AIS 1, John Best 0.

  10. autism2016 March 6, 2017 at 06:08 #

    For the record, I never wanted money from John Best, but that’s how the law works I guess. I’m not an attorney, but my lawyer was. I’m also not the one who developed the process to best achieve my only goal which was nothing more than to have his distasteful post about Autism Intervention Specialists and myself removed from the front page of Google and everywhere else it appeared.

    I was advised by my attorney that by suing for damages, the settlement would likely be AIS retracts the need to recover damages and John Best takes his post down, and he was absolutely correct.

    I do not see anything here about John Best accusing AIS and myself (by name throughout the entire article) of stealing from poor families impacted by autism who thought Applied Behavior Analysis could help their children, lining our pockets like thieves at their expenses, calling us crooks, devils, expressing we should be brought to trial, jailed, and much much worse. I wish I could remember all the incredibly false accusations and rumors he viciously attacked us with for no reason at all, completely out of the blue. Then again, I’m glad I can’t.

    Lining our pockets? Has anyone ever worked with insurance providers and attempted to collect on services rendered??

    For anyone saying we should have done nothing and the article did not impact our reputation, even though it appeared on the first page of Google if either Nassim Aoude or Autism Intervention Specialists was searched (which are BOTH the first two things parents Google before they trust their children’s futures to anyone’s care) well, I guess it would have to happen to you before you’d know the extent of the damage it does.

    The article was much less about mercury and 99% about us selling lies in the form of services John Best didn’t believe in to profit, I mean steel, from families of children with autism. I only respond here for one reason after stumbling upon this article however:

    I never wanted a penny from that lunatic. I wanted John Best and his disgusting article to disappear out of my life as fast as they entered it, and nothing more. Preying on families impacted by autism he claimed??

    Ask anyone who knows me if they’d ever believe that to be true.

    Nassim S. Aoude

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