EXCLUSIVE: Model Liskula Cohen Wins Court Battle with Google to Learn Blogger's Identity
Anonymous Blogger Called Cohen a 'Skank' and a 'Ho'
By RICH MCHUGH and NOEL HARTMAN
Aug. 19, 2009
She had graced the cover of Vogue and found success as a model. But Liskula Cohen's latest achievement came in the courtroom.
"Why should anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street, you're not going to let it go ??? why should I just ignore it?" Cohen told "Good Morning America" exclusively today. "I couldn't find one reason to ignore it."
Google initially refused to unmask the unidentified writer, who Cohen, 36, claimed defamed her by posting words like "skanky," "ho", and "whoring" below her photographs. The IP address turned over by Google revealed that the blogger was an acquaintance of Cohen's.
Cohen said it was a woman she hadn't seen in about a year, but who was a regular fixture at dinners and parties, but she was not, as Cohen had feared, someone who was close to her.
"Thank God it was her??? she's an irrelevant person in my life," Cohen said. "She's just somebody that, whenever I would go out to a restaurant, to a party in New York City ??? she was just that girl that was always there."
In August 2008, the unnamed blogger wrote five different posts entitled "Skanks of NYC" on the Google-owned website Blogger.com.
There were two photographs posted on the blog that show Cohen and an unidentified man in sexually suggestive positions. The captions below described her as the "Skankiest in NYC" and a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank."
One post read "desperation seeps from her soul, if she even has one."
The blog was eventually taken down even though Google continued to refuse Cohen the IP address until the court ruled in her favor.
Cohen, who described herself as a "serial monogamist" and has a "zero tolerance drug policy," said the words were defamatory and harmful to her career. Prospective clients would question her about the blog and what she was doing in the photos, she says.
"Finding new clients this year has not been a walk in the park," she said. "I've worked very long in this industry."
Cohen and her lawyer, Steven Wagner, said they are now planning a defamation suit against the blogger.
"We're not in it to make money," Wagner told "Good Morning America." "We're in it because something was done that was wrong."
Liskula Cohen Took Google to Court
In siding with Cohen, Justice Joan Madden of the New York State Supreme Court rejected the blogger's argument that "blogs serve as a modern day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting, and that the statements in this action when considered in that context, cannot be reasonably understood as factual assertions."
Cohen found out the identity of the blogger, whose name has not been made public, on Tuesday and immediately called her.
Cohen says she started out by apologizing to the woman for anything she may have done to earn her ire.
But she says the blogger told her that she didn't know what she was talking about and said the two women should not speak to each other except in the presence of their attorneys.
Cohen said she has chosen to forgive the woman who wrote the nasty words even though she says the blogger has yet to apologize.
"I have pretty solid friendships, and I trust my friends," she said. "I don't know what I would have done if it had been somebody that I valued as a friend."
Wagner said he hoped his client's triumph in court will show others that anonymity on the Internet isn't what it used to be.
"I don't know if it will change the Internet," he said. "It will change the way some people will act on the Internet."