BOISE (AP) – The dragonfighter brought a defamation lawsuit against a far-right blogger, whom he accuses of sharing a fake video that falsely gave the impression that he was putting himself at risk for children.

Eric Posey filed a lawsuit on Monday in a court in northern Idaho, claiming his reputation has been damaged and his career opportunities have suffered after Summer Bushnell, who runs The Bushnell Report blog, posted a video and falsely told her observers in the media that Posey flashed his genitals at the June Pride event.

A police investigation cleared Posey of the wrongdoing, and the city attorney said the unedited copy of the film showed no evidence of indecent disclosure.

Bushnell’s false claims and edited videos spread rapidly on the Internet, fueling a growing level of hateful rhetoric directed against Posey and other members of the LGBTQ + community, Posey lawyer Wendy Olson said Wednesday.

“When bizarre lies appear that are made public and spread and begin to live their own lives, the person affected is hurt,” said Olson. “It affects every aspect of their lives, every day. This misinformation is not real – it just needs to be stopped. “

Bushnell said in a Wednesday phone interview that she did not have an attorney and could not discuss the case, before denying the allegations.

“I didn’t defame him,” Bushnell said. “I didn’t know his name until I got served, and I say he shouldn’t have done what he was doing in front of the children in a public place.”

Posey, who uses the stage name Mona Liza Million, had been absent in about five years when friends who were on the North Idaho Pride Alliance board of directors asked him to perform at the Pride in the Park festival in Coeur d’Alene in June.

Posey appeared in a long-sleeved leotard, black shorts and sheer tights, with a boa wrapped around his waist. He never took off any clothes, Olson wrote in the lawsuit.

The Pride event then became nationwide – not because of Posey’s performances, but because 31 members of a white supremacist group called the Patriot Front were arrested near the park and charged with conspiracy to riot. Many have pleaded not guilty.

In the lawsuit, Posey claims that Bushnell chose to strengthen her profile by using the attention surrounding the arrests of the Patriot Front.

“To do this, she fabricated a sensational story in which Posey publicly exposed his genitals, including to his children,” Olson wrote in the lawsuit. “Bushnell started by posting a video on her public Facebook page of talking to the camera. She stated that the man in the dress showed his genitals to the crowd, including a minor. She said she would post a blurry video to prove it.

In a second post, Bushnell said Posey’s actions were crimes and called on people to call law enforcement and ask for Posey to be arrested. She also released an edited video where the area covered by his shorts was blurred, an effect that seemed to have exposed his genitals, Olson wrote in the lawsuit.

“Bushnell’s Lies had the intended effect,” Olson wrote, noting that the blogger’s popularity on Facebook had increased and the video had been watched over 19,000 times. This was a huge leap from previous videos on her site which, according to the lawsuit, pulled 235 to 1,400 views.

The spoofed video was also shared on other accounts and platforms. The Coeur d’Alene Police Department has received complaints but none from people who have seen the show with their own eyes, the department noted. They investigated and sent the unedited footage to the prosecutor who found no evidence of indecent disclosure.

Even so, according to the lawsuit, leaflets with an image from a fake movie were sent out in the city, and Bushnell’s images and statements helped fuel misinformation about a drug performance scheduled for the Boise Pride Festival in September. Eventually it was canceled on what the organizers called “safety concerns.”

Many believed that Posey had “committed a serious crime and s*xually abused children,” Olson wrote, adding that Posey was exposed to hatred, contempt and mockery, and that photos from the fake movie were still circulating on the Internet.

Posey’s reputation was tarnished, he suffered from harassment and police investigation, suffered the consequences of his employer and lost his career opportunities, Olson wrote.

Posey is seeking more than $ 10,000 in damages as well as attorney’s fees.

Misleading rhetoric targeting LGBTQ people has intensified in recent months and drag queen events are a frequent target. Experts warn some extremist groups may see this rhetoric as a call to action.

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