Xenu 1, freedom of speech 0
Racist bastard that I am, it's hard for me not to view the settlement of Will Smith's case against the World Entertainment News Network (whatever that is) as a victory against free speech.
Just now, it was announced that Will Smith has been awarded some undisclosed sum from the agency, because they reported that he said that Adolph Hitler was a good person, when what he really said was... well, what the fuck did he say?
Here's the exact quote, which I believe was taken from an interview he did with some magazine in Australia, and was in the context of a discussion with regard to his belief in $cientology, though it's been a while since this shit happened, and I'm not gonna go back and make sure on a Friday when I have to drive through a blizzard to get to the day job here in a little bit.
That's the kind of trade-off you get to make when you're down with the winning team. A decade of dominance, people.
“Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’”
And as I recall, the headlines went something along the lines of, "Will Smith says Hitler was a good person!"
So yeah, I could see how that might be misleading. And as I mentioned at the time, I could see why an actor - even an actor of Will Smith's status in Hollywood - might be concerned about people thinking he said Hitler was a good person.
He could fuck around and end up like Mel Gibson, having to pay for his movies out of his own pocket - even though he might have enough money at this point to pull some shit like that off.
So Will Smith went and sued the World Entertainment News Network, which I guess he determined was the source of the "Will Smith is a Nazi" headline; or maybe he just picked a media outlet at random to make an example, lest anyone else have the sheer balls to slightly misrepresent one of his statements.
My issue is this: If Will Smith feels so strongly about his image that he's gotta go around trying to bankrupt people for misquoting him, why did he even fix his mouth to say some silly shit like that in the first place?
I don't know what the legal requirement is in a case like this (perhaps TPAR can enlighten us), but it's not like the World Entertainment News Network had some sort of vendetta against Will Smith, and they were just sitting around in a room brainstorming ways to make him look like a Nazi. He said the shit himself; all they did was print it, albeit perhaps in a way that was misleading.
If you go back and look at the quote, it's obvious that he didn't mean that Hitler was good in the way that the first one and a half Jay-Z albums were good. But he still said that Hitler was a good person... in his own mind, according to his own twisted, backwards logic. As if Will Smith knows what was going on inside Hitler's head. Either way, why would he even be speculating as to some shit like that?
Oh, that's right. It's because Will Smith is a $cientologist, and $cientologists like to think that they know what's going on inside people's heads.
So what actually happened here was that Will Smith made a statement which was, in essence, a religious statement; and it was offensive, because it was bullshit - as is the case with most religious statements, other than, say, thou shalt not kill. Which isn't actually a religious statement, but rather a moral statement which has been co-opted by religion, as if religion has some sort of monopoly on morality. Never mind the ridonkulous history of immoral acts carried out in the name of religion.
But that's a topic for another discussion.
The World Entertainment News Network printed Will Smith's offensive, religious bullshit, and Will Smith used his ridonkulous legal prowess to have them silenced, lest the world realize that he holds religious views that are offensive and... um, bullshit, right when he's got a new movie coming out. Just like the Church of $cientology was trying to lawyer websites into not running that Tom Cruise recruitment video. And just like YouTube mysteriously goes in and rolls back the view counts on videos that are critical of the Church, so that they don't show up in lists of the most popular videos.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Church of $cientology footed the bill for Will Smith's case against the World Entertainment News Network. Never mind the fact that he's donating his winnings from the case to charity (I wonder which one). Regardless of who footed the bill, it's hard for me to view this as anything other than a matter of religious freaks using their ridonkulous wealth to enforce their will on the rest of the populace. But you guys know I'm a sad, lonely atheist like that. What do you fruits think?