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James Woods is on the receiving end of a Twitter-sparked lawsuit, as an Ohio woman claims he misidentified her as a Nazi and his public apology for doing so was demeaning.
Portia Boulger is suing the actor for defamation and false light invasion of privacy, according to a complaint filed earlier this month in Ohio federal court.
This all started in March 2016, after the Chicago Tribune posted a campaign rally photo of a woman who was wearing a Trump T-shirt and giving a Nazi salute — the well-known ‘Heil Hitler’ salute with her right hand raised straight up — and several Twitter users misidentified the woman in the picture as Boulger, according to the complaint. Woods tweeted the photo from his verified account and wrote, “So-called #Trump ‘Nazi’ is a #BernieSanders agitator/operative?”
The tweet was then retweeted by Donald Trump, Jr., who commented that the whole thing was staged. After one user tweeted out a correction, Trump deleted the references to Boulger — but Woods didn’t at first.
After Boulger’s attorneys contacted the actor, he deleted the tweets and wrote a new series of them that were meant to be a retraction. However, two of the three apology tweets were untrue, according to Boulger.
A March 23 tweet by Woods reads: “Ms. Boulder [sic] has reached out to me and asked me to use my many followers to stop people from harassing her. I am more than happy to do so.”
That was followed by another: “Though she supports @BernieSanders, I am happy to defend her from abuse. I only wish his supporters would do the same for other candidates.”
Those tweets are “false, insulting and demeaning,” according to the complaint. She says she has received hundreds of obscene and threatening messages, including death threats, and is seeking $3 million in damages.
Woods’ attorney, Michael E. Weinsten of Lavely & Singer, issued the following statement: “My client is no doubt surprised by this patently bogus lawsuit. In response to a rumor circulating on the internet about Ms. Boulger’s alleged affiliation with a Trump rally, Mr. Woods tweeted a question seeking clarification. On its face, that is not defamation. In fact, Mr. Woods went out of his way to defend Ms. Boulger against alleged harassment. This case proves the adage ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”
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