Drag artist wins defamation case against right-wing blogger who falsely claimed he flashed children

Summer Bushnell, a right-wing blogger, edited video of drag performer Eric Posey to make it appear as if Posey had exposed his genitals to children at a Pride event. Posey sued Bushnell for defamation over the false claim and an Idaho jury has unanimously awarded him $1.1m in damages.

Jurors awarded Posey $926,000 in compensatory damages for defamation. Because Posey proved that Bushnell knew her allegations were false when she made them or that she made the accusations with "reckless disregard" for the truth, the jury awarded additional punitive damages in the amount of $250,000.

The day of Posey's performance, June 11, 2022, Bushnell posted a video of herself discussing the mass arrest of Patriot Front members near City Park, as well as footage from Posey's performance.

"Why did no one arrest the man in a dress who flashed his genitalia to minors and people in the crowd?" she said in the video. "No one said anything about it and there's video. I'm going to put up a blurred video to prove it."

The blur did not, as she claimed, conceal exposed genitals; she was cooked once city prosecutors got hold of the original footage which made clear he's wearing shorts. Bushnell seems completely unrepentant, all the same, and has a begging site claiming to this day that Posey exposed himself. The $13,951 in her bucket, some of it donated since the verdict, isn't going to cut it.

She has reportedly not taken down the videos from her website or Facebook, either, but I was unable to find them there. Here's a still frame, via Media Matters.

Posey continues to receive the ire of conservatives, including, he claims, death threats.

Posey said Bushnell's false allegations have changed his life. He said he's received death threats and faced harassment while edited images of him dancing at the bandshell became the symbol of a national movement against drag. He said the support of his friends helped him survive.

Not a difficult finding, given the obvious fakery and malice: a five-day trial followed by three hours of deliberation punctuated by the jury sending out the question, "can we order her to take down those posts and apologize in public?"

Some people are surprised an Idaho jury sided with a drag artist. This jury not only did so but was so mad at the defendant it wanted to DIY injunctions on top of the relief.