Eli Erlick, a political activist and transgender woman, is suing a trans political commentator for defamation for accusing Erlick of causing another trans woman’s suicide, even though the woman in question is actually alive.
The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, names right-wing trans woman Blaire White as defendant. It describes White as “a notorious YouTuber that promotes far-right conspiracy theories and has traded on the fact that she is transgender to push hatred against other members of the trans community.”
“Defendant White has a history of attacking other trans individuals, recognized by New York Courts,” the suit says. It quotes a ruling from another New York court, saying, “[S]ince January 2017, White has intermittently created and uploaded episodes of a video series entitled ‘Triggering Tr[*]nnies’ which features taunts of people who identify as ‘trans.’. . . In this Court’s view, all of these comments may be fairly described as ‘queer slurs’ because they were clearly intended as insults.”
According to the suit, White accused Erlick “of sexually abusing and — most importantly, including by Defendant White’s own reckoning — causing the death of the person (Danie) who made the accusation.”
In a YouTube video posted last August, the suit says, “Defendant White states that ‘Danie Yun Diamond made multiple allegations against Eli, including sexual abuse, she has since taken her own life. She has since committed suicide.’” But Diamond is alive, which was obvious from her social media posts, and White knew that, Erlick’s suit contends.
Erlick and White had exchanged messages before White posted the video, the suit says. “White published the comments at issue in this case even after ‘doing enough research’ — that is, simply following the link in the message from Ms. Erlick — and knowing the claim that Ms. Erlick caused Danie’s death was definitionally untrue (because Danie was alive),” the document adds. The suit also says Erlick responded to Diamond’s accusations of sexual abuse and that Diamond went on to delete them.
Erlick suffered economic harm, humiliation, and other consequences because of White’s video, which has drawn more than half a million views on YouTube, according to the suit. Erlick seeks a jury trial and an award of punitive damages and court costs. She is represented by Remy Green of the law firm Cohen & Green in Brooklyn.
The Advocate has sought comment from White and will update this story if we receive a response.