Yesterday I was on WBSM 1420 AM radio in Fall River to do an interview with host Phil Paleologos in response to the “interview” he did with Jennifer Panagakos and her dreamboat husband Michael Panagakos.
True love. Just a reminder that we can’t defend ourselves against these two without your help. Please click here to donate to our legal defense fund. We graciously appreciate your defense of free speech.
Phil asked Jennifer a bunch of leading questions which revealed his bias and were designed to make her look like the victim. Phil allowed Michael to slander me by claiming that I left Shepherd Hill over allegations of sexual harassment by a student, which is 100% fabricated. So I knew he would be hostile and confrontational with me, which is fine because I know that Turtleboy is a force for good, and that we’ve done nothing wrong here. I urge you to give the interview a listen if you haven’t already.
Let’s review the questions he asked me and then compare them to the questions he asked her.
“We live in a world where hate foments online nowadays and a lot of this hate on social media leads to real life violence. Sometimes tragedies. Do you find that you’re part of this culture?”
Funny how Phil didn’t ask about this “hate.”
No violence has ever come out of a Turtleboy blog. Ever.
“Where does opinion cross the line of libel and into an area that’s unlawful.”
Opinions by there very definition cannot be libelous because opinions cannot be true or false.
“From what I understand Jen Panagakos says that harassing Tara Winterhalter and Ritual Sweat Society were your opinions, and watching the video that was sent out that these opinions are protected by freedom of speech. Is that what you feel? Because she feels that these are not opinions, they are libel. What do you think about that?”
How can an opinion on her behavior in a video by libelous? It’s an opinion. Has he even read the blog? Did he do any prep for this interview whatsoever?
“Here’s the point that I need clarification on. It seems from this South Coast Today article “weaponizing Turtleboy,” were you urged to write these blogs on Jen Panagakos, using the folks who wrote to you as the basis for your information? I want to know what you think about cyberbullying. What are your thoughts about it? A lot of folks have different opinions about Turtleboy. They say that this is a website that bullies a lot. I wanted to know what your thoughts were on that.”
What I should’ve said there was that we don’t bully, we stand up to the bullies. We see people like Michael Cadena who was attacking the mother of his child, we expose their behavior, and we defend their victims. In this case we saw Ritual Sweat Society baselessly being labeled as racist without any evidence, and we saw a video of Jennifer Panagakos with another woman going into Ritual Sweat Society and telling them to “wash your hair.”
Who’s getting bullied here? The yoga studio owned by a working class mother that was baselessly labeled as “racist” in a public Facebook post and now has to endure tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills, or the millionaire who walked into that business, insulted their employees’ hair, implied that they were dirty, had a No Trespass Order taken out against her, and then used her money to try to drive them out of business by filing this ridiculous lawsuit?
Funny how Phil didn’t ask her if he thought this sort of behavior form Panagakos was “bullying?”
Then again, that would require actual preparation, which Phil seems to have no interest in.
Phil also failed to ask her if she felt bullied then why does she continue to engage on Facebook and interact with turtle riders who clearly think that she’s at fault here? Facebook gives you the tools to block people you don’t like, yet she goes directly into these arguments and complains that she’s being bullied.
In her interview she said that she was victim close to 20 times. Based on his line of questioning I think it’s pretty clear that he believed her, which is why he kept asking questions like these:
“When is bullying, bullying then?”
“Do you think adult bullies ought to be held responsible and accountable? With the law it’s, there are laws about freedom of speech, you can’t yell fire in a theater, right?”
He also followed her talking points about “emotional distress” and “invasion of privacy,” because she believes that people don’t have the right to record video in public when Jennifer walks into a competitor’s yoga studio and tells them to wash their hair.
“If it is an invasion of privacy, or if it is defamation, or if it is causing emotional distress there are laws that people have to pay consequences if they cross that line? What about a smear campaign or an invasion of privacy or just plain defamation?
Imagine living in a country where you could shut down legitimate speech because it causes someone emotional distress? Or that it’s considered an “invasion of privacy” to record your behavior in public?
He wouldn’t give up on trying to get me to admit that we publish false information either.
“What does Turtleboy do if you publish false information, how do you hand that?”
Me: We don’t.
“Well if the first time happens that the facts are wrong, how will you handle that?”
“Well she’s saying more than it’s your opinion. She’s saying your facts are wrong.”
“Could anything be wrong in the facts that you’ve written up? Is there a possibility that something in there could be not kosher?”
“Who called her a prostitute?”
Sorry Phil, but no means no.
And finally there was this…..
“Is this something you believe has a positive influence on the world, on our kids? What kind of an influence does your work have on our youngsters?”
The youngsters!! Think about the youngsters!! Next thing you know they’ll be using slang and letting their hair grow long!
Now compare it to Phil’s questions with her.
“Mike, you’re a very successful developer, how do you react to this?”
Notice he doesn’t ask him why he plead guilty and went to jail for tax evasion when Jennifer was just a child. Nor did he ask Michael why he sued the the friends and sister of 18 year old Shane Paquet, who died after Mike Panagakos’ bar over-served him and let him drink there before he was 21. The pain that Shane’s mother was put through was only compounded when her daughter was dragged through the courts by Panagakos in a lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed. But instead of moving on Panagakos than appealed the decision, further traumatizing the family of Shane Paquet. My heart breaks for Shane’s mother:
But it was the man who owned the bar where Shane spent his last hours on Earth drinking mudslides that she wanted brought to justice.
“I was told to expect delays,” she said. “I was told to expect it would take a long time. This has been the biggest nightmare of my life. I walked into this and I can’t walk out of it.”
For three years, Ms. Paquet traveled to New Bedford District Court where the bar owner faced charges of serving alcohol to a minor as the case was postponed time and again. “He had to be held accountable,” she said. “He had to be held responsible.”
Finally, on April 18, the day Michael Panagakos was planning to stand next to a group of New Bedford officials and receive an award for promoting smoke-free environments at his Dunkin’ Donuts franchises, New Bedford District Court Judge John Leonard found the Rochester man guilty. Despite pleas from his attorneys, Mr. Panagakos was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs to spend 30 days in jail.
Shane Paquet would be in his mid 40’s today if he weren’t over-served alcohol at Mike’s bar, or even allowed inside in the first place.
But Phil didn’t care about any of that. Instead Mike is a “successful developer.” If I could avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes I’d probably be successful too.
The “questions” to the wife who is at least 30 years younger than him, weren’t really questions either.
“Jen, cyberbullying, is that what you think is going on here?”
“So we talked about children and the problem of bullying with our youngsters and where that can lead, but we hardly talk about adult cyberbullying. Tell me, is this part of the framing of this argument that there is a problem with this adult bullying form whatever this social media is?
“Are you alleging that this has turned into a smear campaign to defame you?”
“This has impacted your business and your reputation. Is that what you’re saying?”
These are guided, softball questions, clearly setting her up to push forth the narrative that she’s a victim of bullying here. When the person you’re interviewing can answer your questions by saying “absolutely” first, then you’re not doing a real interview. If he wanted to do a real interview he would ask her why she justified this sort of language towards a pregnant woman.
“My husband supports and defends his wife.”
So it’s OK when he calls people sluts, and she tells women to wash their hair because it’s in “defense.” She’s the victim here.
Anyway, this lawsuit isn’t going anywhere and the bills will keep piling up, so if you’d like to support us we graciously appreciate any and all donations to our legal defense fund. Click here to do so. We have no choice but to pay for counsel, and if we can’t afford to fight this we will get a default judgment against us and that will be the end of Turtleboy. Defend free speech while it’s under attack.
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