The Daily Show's Unforgettable Takedown of Andrew Shirvell
Andrew Shirvell found out Thursday that he must pay a whopping $4.5 million for the damage he caused to a gay University of Michigan student leader. It's doubtful he could have imagined such a punishment being issued by a jury of his peers when the former assistant attorney general decided to sit down with The Daily Show in November 2010 for what turned out to be perhaps the definitive takedown of his harassment.
Shirvell had been generating headlines for launching the "Chris Armstrong Watch" blog in April of that year, and he was placed on leave in October. He complained to Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones that "we have no decency in this country" because of all the criticism he'd received for his behavior.
Shirvell was eventually fired that year for repeatedly harassing Armstrong, his alma mater's student body president, via blog postings that claimed Armstrong pushed a "radical homosexual agenda," called him a Nazi and a representative of Satan. The attorney general's office reported it had received more than 20,000 outraged phone calls about Shirvell.
All of that led to Armstrong's defamation lawsuit in 2011. And The Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday that a jury in U.S. District Court ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million in damages.
In one of the most memorable exchanges from The Daily Show interview, Jones asked Shirvell about whether his attacks had gone too far.
"What about all of the stuff that they've done to me?" an exasperated Shirvell said. And then he went into a tirade about First Amendment rights and listed what he said were unfair attacks.
"Have you sought any legal protection from this cyber bullying?" Jones asks, appearing concerned for Shirvell.
"How can you seek protection from crazy people?" Shirvell retorts.
"I don't know," Jones says, "file a complaint with the attorney general's office?"
Watch the interview below.