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​Right-wing blogger required to pay $1.1 million for defaming Idaho drag queen

​Idaho drag queen Mona Liza Million Eric Posey Coeur dAlene Pride In The Park performance conservative rightwing blogger Summer Bushnell
twitter/X @Henrik_Palmgren; via Idaho Speaks

Summer Bushnell falsely accused Eric Posey of exposing his genitals to kids during a pride event.

Cwnewser

InIdaho, Eric Posey, adrag performer from Post Falls, has been awarded over $1.1 million in a defamation lawsuit against conservative blogger Summer Bushnell.

The Associated Pressreports that a jury unanimously found Bushnell defamed Posey by falsely accusing him of exposing himself to minors during a 2022 Pride event.

The jury awarded Posey, who performs as drag queen Mona Liza Million, $926,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $250,000 in punitive damages. Bushnell’s false claims stemmed from a June 2022 Pride in the Park event in Coeur d’Alene, where she posted a video claiming Posey had exposed his genitals while performing. She followed up with an edited video that blurred Posey’s pelvic area, suggesting nudity, which she shared widely online.

Related: Drag Performer Sues Right-Wing Blogger Over Indecent Exposure Claims

“The judicial system did what needed to be done,” Posey said after the verdict on Friday, according to AP.

The doctored video quickly went viral, leading to national news coverage, a police investigation, and significant personal harassment for Posey. Despite Bushnell’s claims, law enforcement officials confirmed that the unedited footage showed Posey was fully clothed throughout his performance, and no charges were filed.

Posey expressed how the false allegations severely impacted his life, causing emotional distress, harassment, and death threats. He credited the support of his friends and community for helping him through the ordeal.

“Imagine being in a dark hole where you have nobody and you felt the whole world turn their back on you,” Posey said in court. “But somehow, you were surrounded by warriors, true people of Idaho — not transplants, true people of this soil. I am fortunate to say I have people like that around me, people that lifted me up.”

Bushnell’s attorney, D. Colton Boyles, argued that her claims were “close to the line” but not defamatory, the Coeur d’Alene Pressreports.

After a five-day trial, the jury deliberated for about three and a half hours. Jurors asked if they could mandate the removal of Bushnell’s posts and a public apology, but First District Judge Ross Pittman indicated they could not. Outside the courthouse, jurors approached Posey to shake his hand or hug him.

“I’m really glad you got the justice you deserve,” one juror said, embracing Posey. “I’m so sorry you went through this,” another juror added, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).