When someone registers a domain like glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, they probably expect to hear from Glenn Beck’s lawyers. In this case, it took two days. The site’s anonymous operator tells Ars that the whole thing is satire—but that may not be enough to avoid charges of defamation.

The controversy started a week ago in the Fark forums, where someone picked up on an old Gilbert Gottfried roast of the “comedian” (scare quotes fully intended) Bob Saget. During the roast, Gottfried repeatedly said (watch the video) that Saget had “not raped and killed a girl in 1990.” The Fark forums took the joke about the power of insinuation and applied it to right-wing talk show host Glenn “Obama is a racist” Beck.

One of the Fark readers then took the forum meme to the next level, registering a domain name and launching a web site in order to make a point about talking head TV demagoguery. “Why won’t Glenn Beck deny these allegations?” asks the site. “We’re not accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering a young girl in 1990—in fact, we think he didn’t! But we can’t help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won’t he deny that he raped and killed a young girl in 1990?” At the very bottom of the page was a small text disclaimer saying that the site was satirical.

I spoke to the anonymous owner of the site, who tells Ars that launching it “just felt right”—it flipped the “birther” non-falsifiable conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth and citizenship around and applied the same tactics to one of the biggest talking heads (no pun intended?) on cable news. It’s just “using Beck’s tactics against him” and is a small way of “directing all this frustration” with Beck and others into action.

Read the rest of the article to learn about the legal aspects of this.

  1. qb says:

    If Glenn Beck cries alone in the forest, does anybody hear it?

  2. Citation Provided. says:

    “Citation needed. Seriously, do you actually think Obama is at risk for assassination by anything Glenn Beck has said?”

    Citation provided.


    Guess you missed this story, huh, Sparky?

    Seriously, I’m sure the three dead cops’ families are ever so grateful for Beck’s contributions to reasonable discourse.

    And now Beck has HIS panties in a bunch because he’s being satirized on a website.

    The poor baby!

  3. gwsuperfan says:

    As one of the originators (though not the webmaster) of the ‘Glenn Beck 1990’ meme maybe I can weigh in on this satire/defamation debate-

    This whole thing started as a one-line joke. A comment intended to lampoon Glenn Beck’s (and Fox’s) “reporting” style. One person asked: “Why hasn’t Glenn Beck addressed the rumor that he raped and murdered a young girl in 1990?” -a takeoff on a similar joke by Gilbert Gottfried at Comedy Central’s roast of Bob Saget. The question got repeated and echoed (and amplified) in the thread ad nauseum, eventually leading someone to decide that it would provide a brilliant vehicle for lampooning Beck (and by extension Fox) outside the Fark thread in which the meme originated. At no time was an accusation made, simply a question asked. From there, it exploded, as people who got the joke and saw what was being done posted the question in other forums and on blogs of all types.

    Act II began when Glenn Beck’s brilliant legal team (who apparently never heard of the Streisand Effect) initiated legal action alleging trademark infringement, demanding that the site be taken down. That maneuver actually made the whole thing news. It took it from being an obscure “in” joke to places online with real visibility. How will this play out? We don’t know, but if Beck wants to keep fighting this battle, we will happily continue to expose him for the disingenuous, hatemongering gasbag that he is.


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