Originally posted by King of the Seven Seas:
I figure Ellison was sincere when he said that "bugfuck" was intended as a compliment, but I also think that Fleischer was justified in being offended by it (and "twisted," and "crazy"). Taking offense doesn't make it libel, though.
Harlan's unchallenged testimony was that, upon hearing Fleischer was upset, he called him to make amends and assure him no offense was intended. However, Gary Groth and other TCJ staff were openly derisive--at one point announcing they'd throw a "Let's Kick Michael Fleischer in the Ass" fest. Still far short of libel or slander, but the opportunities for the thing to blow over diminished greatly. And had either Shooter or Fleischer come off on the stand as well as Harlan and Gary, the jury (or so they told us immediately after the verdict) would have found for Fleischer out of sympathy.
It's too bad the Journal
never got around to publishing Fleischer's testimony, it was...something to see. (And now I'll shut up and go back to work.)