Protect the Protest reflects on first year of work to stop the use of SLAPPs to silence free speech & activism
Author: Protect the Protest, Published on: 26 September 2019
"The First Anniversary of the Protect the Protest Task Force Launch", 26 September 2019
[In 2018] 25 social justice, environmental, and civil liberties organizations joined forces to form the Protect the Protest task force to combat the threat of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and to lessen the destruction of this legal bullying tactic. We've had a year of important successes... Still, the SLAPP threat remains, and will require creative advocacy, the stigmatization of SLAPP filers, and ultimately the strengthening of the legal architecture to ensure that courts are not co-opted as a tool of those who seek to silence protected speech.
Major victories [include]... defeat[ing] one of the country's biggest SLAPP threats: the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in SLAPP suits... Protect the Protest succeeded in getting RICO claims dismissed in two cases, one brought by Resolute Forest Products and the other brought by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline... [Additionally, in] March 2019, Protect the Protest published the An Activist Guide: Reducing Exposure to SLAPP Lawsuits, which describes the telltale signs of a SLAPP, how to protect yourself from being SLAPPed, and what to do if you are SLAPPed... Despite these big wins... [w]e still see SLAPPs being used by corporations and powerful individuals to silence sexual assault and harassment victims, racial justice activists, and environmental defenders.