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04/14/2011

Marinelli to Newsweek/Daily Beast: Brian Brown has threatened legal action

by Jeremy Hooper

Okay, first off, not gonna lie: I'm pretty pissed about being shut out of Eve Conant's Newsweek/Daily Beast story on Louis Marinelli's NOM defection/. Louis gave me the exclusive interview, after months of intense coordination, and this site broke the story before his own blog post (again, something we the two of us has coordinated). And in fact, had it not been for my effort on the day before the story went live, this whole thing was in danger of falling through. So for this site and/or its writer to not be mentioned in this MSM writeup of how this all came to be? It's really not okay.

But whatever. My ego out of the way: This part is pretty interesting:

“Louis was a bus driver,” Brown said. “It’s pretty hilarious, this idea that he was a top strategist for NOM. He was a part-time consultant. He has since changed his position, and people have a right to change their minds.” Brown dismissed the attention surrounding Marinelli as a “tempest in a teapot” drummed up by the gay press. But a few hours after Brown spoke to The Daily Beast, Marinelli said he received an email from the NOM president saying the organization was exploring legal action against him, alleging he violated his confidentiality agreement. Marinelli’s conclusion: “He’s trying to get me to shut up.” (Brown could not be reached again for comment.)

NOM, Marinelli said, provided 60 percent to 70 percent of his income, which he has yet to make up for. Some Facebook commenters have attacked him with remarks like “You really need to find Jesus and get the devil taken out of you.” But Marinelli, now living in St. Petersburg, Russia, said the vast majority of responses have been positive. “Some say they were in tears because of what I wrote,” he said. “There seems to be this whole new army of people who want to be my friend. After five years of attacking and misrepresenting them, they are only giving me kind words and support.”
An Anti-Gay Marriage Crusader on His Conversion [Daily Beast/Newsweek]

Very glad to see Louis calling Brian out. For days I've known how Brian's been threatening Louis with legal action, even while minimizing his role in the press. I can now report that Brian's even gone so far as to tell Louis to remove all of his blog posts (as if that would even accomplish anything at this point). So if Brian's calling this a "tempest in a teapot," then we're gonna go ahead and call NOM "kettle."

Also, Brian really needs to quit with the whole "it's pretty hilarious...that he was a top strategist" thing. Beyond the fact -- THE. FACT! -- that Louis reported directly to Brian Brown as a NOM employee (an independent contractor, on salary) and was the one who came up with the tour idea, Louis also took with him nearly 300k Facebook users. NOM's attempt at a F'book reboot is essentially a pro-LGBT site! Every time its "likes" go up, more pro-equality voices come on, currently commenting at about a 9-1 clip.

***

*Our complete Marinelli archive, going back to June of 2010

***

*UPDATE: Brian still playing semantic games in his latest e-blast:

"Meanwhile a lot of you have been asking me about Louis Marinelli. There are some potential litigation issues, so we won't be saying much as we sort those legal issues out.

But here are the basic facts. Louis was not a major NOM strategist. He was not in charge of our summer bus tour. He was never an employee of NOM. He's a young man who, on his own, built a Facebook page with almost 300,000 supporters, called Protect Marriage, One Man, One Woman. He wanted to use that page to help NOM's work. He volunteered to help drive the bus for the NOM bus tour. We eventually paid him as a part-time contractor to help with internet outreach. Last Friday, he abruptly announced he was now pro-gay-marriage and shut down the Facebook page.

I said on our blog that we wish him well, and personally I do!
"

Because don't you all threaten litigation against someone who doesn't matter?

Here are the basic facts, in non-NOM world: (1) Louis was talking about a summer marriage tour months before NOM ever announced any such plans (see his old Twitter account for proof -- NOM didn't announce until 6/28/10), so his own claim of being the one to plan the tour makes far more sense than Brian's. (2) Louis drove the bus and blogged about the tour, so clearly NOM trusted him enough for these two crucial roles. (3) He was, in fact, on contract with NOM, reporting directly to Brian Brown. Brian is playing rhetorical games by highlighting the contractor role rather than the fact that Louis worked for NOM, for cash. From what I understand, most everyone who works with NOM is a contractor, save a few directors. (4) NOM fully took on Louis' Facebook page as their own, changing every one of their web properties (main site, Twitter background, e-blasts) to reflect the fact that Louis' page was their own. So Louis didn't just "want to use that page to help NOM's work" -- NOM made an organizational choice to take on Louis' efforts as official NOM social media outreach!!

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