A Missoula judge is prohibiting the owner of a University of Montana Grizzlies athletics fan website from making any posts on social media referencing a woman who protested the rehiring of football coach Bobby Hauck last year.
The ban imposed Thursday by Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Jenks is part of a restraining order that also bars Mike Schlosser from approaching the woman or going to campus.
In February, Jenks granted a temporary order of protection to Lisa Davey against Schlosser, the owner of web forum MaroonBlood.
The two sides finally met in court on Thursday for a hearing on whether the order should be extended, with Jenks concluding at the end of the 1 1/2-hour hearing that it will stay in place for another year.
“I think (Schlosser’s) an internet troll. That’s perfectly legal; he can be an internet troll. But he doesn’t get to take it to the next step and threaten to rape her,” the judge said.
In November, Davey started an online petition asking UM not to rehire Hauck. The petition included an image of the cover of Jon Krakauer’s book “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,” edited to include Hauck’s name.
Schlosser said Thursday the image “ticked me off.”
“He was trying to get hired at the university and somebody was calling him a rapist or trying to insinuate that he’s a rapist,” he said.
Shortly after, an online account called AlphaGriz1 began to write harassing messages on Twitter and MaroonBlood about and directed at Davey, including derogatory comments about her appearance, as well as her address. On MaroonBlood, the account posted in a thread about Davey that “This bitch would be the first to go down hard,” and that she should “get ready for protests at work.”
The thread also included a photo of Davey with a caption saying “I rape” followed by a seemingly innocuous phrase that also refers to a crude sex act. Schlosser told the judge he didn’t know the alternate meaning and only used the term because it was “funny.”
Jenks said that didn’t concern her, but that she agreed with Davey that the posting — as well as putting out her information with a request for people to harass her — was a direct threat, calling Schlosser’s assertions otherwise “utterly ridiculous.”
In her order from the bench, Jenks said the new order of protection specifies that Schlosser can not refer to Davey in any way on his online profiles.
Schlosser said he was AlphaGriz1 on his forum, but that the Twitter account is controlled by friends after he sold it in a “joke” eBay auction years ago. Nevertheless, he claimed legal responsibility for the content of the Twitter feed.
“I’m not letting them get anybody else involved in this,” he said.
Despite his assertions that he doesn’t control the AlphaGriz1 Twitter account, Jenks said she didn’t believe that, and said she would be enforcing the restriction on that as well.
“This is over for you. It has to stop,” she said. “In so many ways it’s so juvenile, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.”
Schlosser’s attorney Nick Brooke said he intends to challenge the ruling.
Brooke, who during the hearing said he disagrees with the comments Schlosser made — which he said were “brutish and crude” — argued to the judge that they posed no direct threat to Davey and were protected by the First Amendment. By involving herself in a public controversy, Brooke contended, Davey made herself a public figure with a much lower expectation of privacy.
“I don’t think there is a risk that he is a danger to her,” Brooke said. “We’re allowed political hyperbole in this country.”
The photo with the reference to rape could have just been a “cheap shot at your weight,” he told Davey.
“Do you think Mike might have been giving you a dose of your own medicine?” Brooke asked her in regard to his client’s posting her address online.
That comment was echoed by Schlosser during his testimony when he said he posted her personal information to let her know it’s “not OK to do that sh-- to other people.” He referred to an incident last fall in which a Billings man made derogatory comments online about disabled children. A local group, Missoula Rises — Davey said she's a member — organized people to call the man’s work asking if his employer was OK with his comments.
Davey said she had nothing to do with that effort, although Schlosser told the judge he felt she was behind it. After questioning, though, he said he had no evidence of this and nothing to substantiate the claim other than her being a member of the group.
“I was mimicking what they were doing,” Schlosser said of posting Davey’s information. “Basically teaching them a lesson.”
Davey’s attorney Josh Van de Wetering said he was also a Missoula Rises member, and asked Schlosser if that made him also responsible for anything.
In February, after Jenks issued her temporary order, UM followed up with its own letter to Schlosser banning him from coming to campus or attending any sporting events, including football games. That order is in place until June 2019, or until Schlosser goes through a reinstatement hearing.
In late February, after the judge’s initial order and UM's barring Schlosser from campus, Missoula Rises organized a campus forum on sexism that included Davey and Hauck as panelists. The Twitter account of AlphaGriz1 posted the following, beginning with an acronym for an explicit phrase:
" ... you need to drop it its (sic) never going to go away. Get to the kitchen sugartits its (sic) almost dinner time!”
On Thursday, Davey told the judge she wanted an extended order of protection because Schlosser’s actions worried her and she felt scared he would harm her. A season ticket holder for Griz football, Davey said she would “like to feel safe going to games.”
Schlosser said he had no intention of returning to Missoula in the next year.