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A Drag Performer in Idaho Won $1.1 Million in Damages After a Far-right Blogger Lied About Him


A Utah jury on Friday gave a drag artist more than $1.1 million in damages because a far-right blogger slandered him and spread false claims that he raped children at a pride event.

Eric Posey, who goes by the drag name Mona Liza Million, sued writer Summer Bushnell in 2022 after Bushnell shared a fake video of Posey performing in drag at an event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was said that Posey was dancing in drag on the tape, but there was some blurred footage around his waist.

“Why didn’t anyone arrest the man in a dress who showed his private parts to kids and people in the crowd?” As Bushnell said in a previous post. “No one talked about it, and there’s video of it.” To prove it, I’ll post a blurry video.

A lot of people across the country were upset about the blurry video, which was eventually seen by thousands of people. Really, the original video showed Posey dancing in clothes with a boa around his waist, and he wasn’t acting in a bad way. But Bushnell’s many posts about the show led to an investigation by the police, and city prosecutors told the public that Posey had not exposed himself to the crowd.

During the trial, Posey told the judge that Bushnell’s posts made the incident a flashpoint in the conservative war against LGBTQ+ Americans and drag acts. He said that Bushnell’s posts caused him to get death threats and be harassed. Thirty white supremacists were caught nearby and later charged with planning to riot at the pride event that was at the center of the case. This made the event a flashpoint in the fight.

In court on Thursday, Posey told the judge, “Imagine being in a dark hole where you have no one and you felt like the whole world had turned their back on you.” “But in some way, you were surrounded by fighters who were born and raised in Idaho, not people who moved there. I’m lucky to have people like that in my life; they made me feel better.

Posey was given $250,000 in severe damages and $926,000 in compensatory damages for defamation by the jury. This was because Bushnell’s lawyers showed that she knew her statements were false but still shared them without caring about the truth.

The jury asked the judge if they could tell Bushnell to delete her posts, but the judge said that wasn’t possible. The videos were still on Bushnell’s page on Friday, the Coeur d’Alene Press said.

Posey told The New York Times after the verdict, “I am so grateful that the jury was alert and that they didn’t believe the lies that put me in a dark place for almost two years.”

The first pride event that Bushnell’s post said it showed was put on by the North Idaho Pride Alliance, which supported the jury’s decision. The group said it was very grateful for the “jury’s dedication and careful consideration of the facts presented.”

These recent events have made the group’s promise to protect and care for the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Idaho even stronger, they said in a statement. “We will keep working to build a culture of acceptance and understanding by giving resources, educating, and speaking out.”

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