Bloggers Under Fire

Mesa Airlines

I meant to write about Holly Hegeman’s fight against Mesa Air Group a long time ago, but I admittedly got sidetracked. The recent dust-up between Eclipse Aviation and the Eclipse Aviation Critic NG blog (listen to a podcast on the subject), reminded me that I needed to get that post up sooner rather than later.

A few months ago, Holly was sued by Mesa Air Group for defamation in a few of her PlaneBuzz blog posts. CAN EAT WAFFLESIf you dig in, I think you’ll find yourself scratching your head wondering for what exactly she’s being sued. But once you learn that there’s been a long history of issues between Holly and Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein, things become more clear.

In response to this suit, Holly started CAN EAT WAFFLES. Yes, this ridiculous name stands for the Coalition Against Negative Energy And Time Wasted Arduously Fighting Frivolous Lawsuits Exemplifying Superfluousness. It is a ridiculous name, but that’s because it’s a ridiculous lawsuit.

As a blogger, this obviously concerns me a great deal, because I can’t see anything Holly said that deserves a lawsuit. If more companies start to use the courts to intimidate bloggers, it’s going to make writing a blog without worrying about the consequences of negative posts very difficult , regardless of how true they are.

How can you help? Well, Holly’s legal bills are mounting, and she welcomes donations if you want to join the fight. If you think blogs are valuable, then I encourage you to think about this so that all of us can continue to write true and compelling content, even when it shows some companies in a negative light.

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6 comments on “Bloggers Under Fire

  1. I would suggest to Mr Ornstein that he spend more time on shareholders’ interests (see 52 week stock performance), and less on lawsuits that have little or nothing to do with brand protection and corporate image. Perhaps investors should remind Mr Ornstein that running a tight ship does more to burnish the company’s (and his too!) image than anything else.

    I think your shareholders would be more pleased to see you and your officers applying their energies to the extremely difficult operating environment to ensure the company’s survival, let alone its profitability, than lawsuits of anything less than a critical nature.

  2. Hmmmm. Not sure I agree. While blogs are not the same thing as print journalism, if you make allegations in print you should be prepared to face the consequences. I read the first two Mesa quotes in question and she doesn’t just comment on Hawaiian’s allegations, she goes a step further and makes allegations of her own.

  3. DRG,

    The details behind this lawsuit include the opinion of everyone I’ve come across that Mesa has absolutely no case. This is obviously an intimidation attempt at allowing only positive press to be published about their firm at the threat of an expensive lawsuit. I may be but one person, but there is one thing I can do…


  4. In re DRG comments, making allegations is one thing, defamation, slander, and libel are very different. I’m not seeing anything here that suggests Ms Hegeman has engaged in slanderous and libelous behavior.

    The question is why should Mr Ornstein be so concerned about one blogger. It seems pretty obvious he has a litigatious vendetta against her. So I ask, what is it Mr Ornstein, that makes you defensive and insecure…about Ms. Hegeman, that is?

  5. Jonathan Ornstein should be strung up and hung out to dry. And he isn’t “just concerned with one blogger” Mr Ornstein has intimidated and sued many other bloggers and legitimate reporters in recent history. Mike Uslin (Aloha Airlines), Ann Bardach (from NY Times), and Stacy Loe (KGMB News hawaii).

    Jonathan Ornstein is a coward who is afraid of people knowing the truth about him.

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