In August 2017, a self-anointed public speaker/influencer named Robbie Tripp posted an Instagram of himself and his swimsuit-clad partner, bravely declaring that though “her shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan,” he loves his “curvy wife.” It went viral and Tripp was able to secure a book deal out of the fiasco, resulting in the “abstract manifesto” Create Rebellion, which he describes as a “creative bible for the disruptive soul.”
Then! Babe.net, a publication that has stayed on the Curvy Wife beat (even unearthing racist remarks from his past) chose to review the book by comparing it to the Unabomber Manifesto. Literally, Babe’s Harry Shukman compared it to terrorist Ted Kaczynski’s treatise by excerpting both, in chunks, and asking readers to guess which is which. Naturallym Tripp’s lawyer sent a letter to Babe.net’s editors threatening to sue for “defamation, false light, and copyright violation claims.”
Babe.net sent BuzzFeed, who first reported on this all-too-strange-yet-perfectly understandable beef, the following statement:
“Congress shall make no law preventing the trashing of a dumb book, or prohibiting the free shading thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of babe dot net to peaceably critique ‘abstract manifestos for disruptive creativity’ written by an Insta-famous weirdo obsessed with talking about his wife’s thiiiiccness.”
Then Tripp told BuzzFeed he’s mostly a chill guy, but felt Babe.net’s “uncredible snark blog” violated his copyright because they excerpted a lot of material from the “book”:
“Sensational and completely uncredible snark blogs like the one in question typically wouldn’t warrant a response from me, but when full pages of my book are being photographed and published online without my knowledge or permission it becomes necessary to inquire. My number one goal on social media has always been to spread positivity and encourage others to love themselves and chase their dreams, and I just find it sad that there are people out there who choose to spend their time and energy trying to tear others down and conjure up controversy. I’ll never understand that type of negative energy and I’ll continue to stay positive!”
I’m not sure who to root for in this situation—or if it’s even worth it. And that’s where we are. Here. 2018.