UPDATE: LAWSUIT WITHDRAWN! Blog still up. (see the comments)
(example of what can happen when you go after the cyberpath or ex online)
by Terence Corcoran
(U.S.A.) A Bedford man is suing his ex-wife for at least $10 million over her blog posts on the physical and emotional abuse she claims to have suffered at his hands during their 25-year marriage.
Robert Levine, who owns a Bronx-based business called Foodirect, calls Julie Levine’s many blog entries “false and defamatory” in the libel suit filed Dec. 3 in federal court.
“He absolutely denies all the claims,” said Robert Levine’s attorney, Mona D. Shapiro of Mount Kisco.
His ex, who lives in West Orange, N.J., launched a blog called “Until You Say Uncle” in 2008. It describes harrowing abuse she says her husband perpetrated: knocking her out, holding guns to her head and sexually assaulting her.
The couple, who were married in 1980 and raised two sons in Westchester County, had a contentious divorce, which began in 1999 and was finalized in 2005. Julie Levine was granted the divorce on the grounds of cruel and unusual treatment.
She said by email that she may might her lawyer, Robert Leino of Manhattan, comment for her. Earlier Tuesday, he declined comment, saying he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
Although an ugly divorce in the suburbs is hardly a new or recent phenomenon, the public nature of the Levine split is a reflection of a new trend: the use of social media to air a grievance, even one as personal as a divorce. The Internet is the new backyard for angry ex-spouses.
“Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — they’ve made us producers, not just consumers. That means we’re ever-eager to put up a story and talk about it. The success we see with reality television, it’s related to the same part of human nature,” said a Fordham University professor of communications, Paul Levinson.
Levinson, of Greenburgh, said there has been an explosion of personal material posted onto the Internet that would have only been whispered about in a previous age. “People tweet everything they’re doing,” he continued. “Until we learn — and this is all new — we’re going to see an erosion between the public and the private.”
A disclaimer on Julie Levine’s blog says, “I do my best to try not to knowingly injure, defame or libel anyone. But bear in mind, I am writing what is the truth — and I was married to a real bad dude.”
Some of the abuse, she wrote, happened in front of their sons, Jason, now 30, and Jared, 27, while they were growing up. The sons, however, are very close to their father,” Shapiro said. “They have a good relationship with him and they work with him in the family business.”
Shapiro said Julie Levine wants more money from her ex and has taken him to court despite the 2005 divorce agreement.
Julie Levine acknowledged the lawsuit in this blog post last week:
“I do not want to lose my voice, my blog. As you probably already know, my ex husband (the ex abusive husband) is suing me for $10 million, but I am fighting it in court. I already had the case transferred from the Westchester county court to Federal court. Problem is that legal fees are killing me.”