A Pennsylvania dad was ordered by a judge to take down the blog on which he railed against his "Psycho Ex Wife." Now he's claiming the order violates his First Amendment rights.
On the Today Show yesterday, Anthony Morelli said his blog was an attempt to "provide a forum whereby, through our collective experiences, we could help minimize the conflict in our lives and choose better ways to deal with our high-conflict ex-spouses." Here's how Morelli goes about minimizing conflict:
PEW = Psycho Ex-Wife
She's on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time with her bipolar sister [...] drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn't stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.
Another post includes an email sent by "PEW" detailing her anger at discovering the site, and a point-by-point response including observations like, "orthodontics are another tool of terror in the high-conflict ex's arsenal." Yet another, written by Morelli's new partner, details her responses to Morelli's children's behavior problems:
The past year has been a trying one. Trying to come back to liking the boys. As much as I hate it, I can't express my hatred, anger, feelings of betrayal to Psycho Mom. It comes out in my apathy towards her children. When S1 [Son 1] lies about things, I see her. When S1 hits another kid at school, I see her. When S2 [Son 2] pees on the toilet seat, I see her. [...] Part of the problem I have is that so many of the behavioral and social issues the boys have, are the same ones their mother has, the ones we hate.
Given this, it's no surprise that a judge ordered Morelli to take his site down, arguing that "your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public." Morelli doesn't agree. A new site, Save ThePsychoExWife.com, is now linked to the homepage of The Psycho Ex-Wife. The new site argues,
Judge Diane E. Gibbons has violated the father's civil rights by ordering him to remove the blog. [...] The existence of the website, in and of itself, has no affect on his children. It would forever remain so, provided both parents monitor the children's computer usage as any good parent should.
The site's author (who doesn't identify themselves as Morelli) also puts out a rallying cry to basically anyone who has written anything ever:
For those of you that work in the Internet Marketing Industry –- imagine a family court threatening to remove your children from your life because you run a website they object to, though your children never even see it. If you are an author, imagine a family court threatening to remove your children from your life because you write a book they object to. Imagine sending a vulgar email to your brother who passes it on to your ex-wife and a judge decides you shouldn't have custody because she didn't like the joke. This could happen to you.
This doesn't really hold water. The Psycho Ex Wife isn't just a website Morelli's ex objects to, it's a website on which he clearly denigrates her and discusses their children in sometimes unflattering and often contentious terms. It makes perfect sense that this site should be an issue in determining custody. Moreover, the judge's decision includes a moving exhortation to both parents:
[Y]ou go out there and you convince these children that this is done, that this is done. There is no more angst and there is no more trauma and there is no more arguing, no more bad websites and no more bad emails, that this is all about them, and all the anger is gone.
That is what you do. That is what you go out there and do. And then your boys will make it through their teenage years and they will go to college and they will get married and they will have a wonderful life. That is what I want done, so go do it.
Those two paragraphs are a lot more helpful to Morelli's kids than anything he's written.
The Psycho Ex-Wife: Free Speech Fight Over Divorce Blog [Huffington Post]