Attorney Charles J. Harder used a lawsuit by professional wrestler Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea and billionaire Peter Thiel’s money to bankrupt and ultimately take down Gawker.com and has now filed a suit against feminist blog Jezebel.
The New York Post reported Thursday that Harder has aligned with plaintiff Greg Scherick and filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Jezebel writer Anna Merlan and former editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael over a May, 2016 blog post about Scherick’s controversial “group therapy” program Superstar Machine.
Former members of Superstar Machine allege that Scherick is a manipulative predator and that his group is a “cult that preys on its members’ insecurities, exploits them financially, and isolates them.”
The women told Jezebel that Scherick told them that they will only reach fulfillment when they learn to “serve the masculine” and that he “cultivated a group of women who served as his seconds-in-command, and whose role is to praise him, back up his decisions, and remind everyone coming into the group that they needed to give him ‘a good experience.’”
According to the Jezebel feature, Scherick was disrespectful of women’s personal boundaries, pressuring them to engage in anal sex and telling them their power as women was reflected by the strength and duration of their orgasms.
Now Scherick claims that the article was defamatory and has harmed his reputation and cost him group members. Superstar Machine, he said, is “not a cult by any stretch of the imagination.”
The complaint filed by Harder said, “Among other things, there is no religious component to the group. It encourages its members to become stronger individuals through certain guidance and advice. It does not attempt to instill Mr. Scherick’s opinions on its members nor does it use rewards or punishments to force members to act in a certain manner.”
Harder represented Bollea against Gawker, winning a $140 million judgment, effectively silencing the blog and forcing it into bankruptcy. Bollea sued the blog for publishing a private sex tape.
Jezebel is a former Gawker property and is currently owned by Gizmodo Media Group.