The Washington Post reports this morning on a blogger who decided to write a post about one of the customers he served at work and got fired over the aftermath. Two days before Christmas, Chuckles of Freelance Genius (real name Charles Williamson) wrote the following about Tucker Carlson after he and his companion rented movies at his video store:

Tucker Carlson opened an account last night at my video store. I thought the name seemed familiar but I couldn’t figure out why. It was after he left that I realized he was on the list of Gigantic Cobagz. I could tell you what he and his ridiculously wasped-out female companion (wife?) rented if you really want to know. I won’t tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

Williamson thought that the low level of traffic at his blog made him invisible enough for this to go unnoticed to all but his circle of friends. Unfortunately for Chuckles, nothing on the Internet is invisible, especially with Google and other search engines making all links more or less equal. The Post describes what happened next:

A week later, Williamson had forgotten all about it, he told us yesterday. That is, until Carlson, 37, reappeared at the video store and, said Williamson, “got pretty aggressive.” According to Williamson, Carlson confronted him about the blog and said he viewed the post as a threat to him and his wife. “He said, ‘If you keep this [expletive] up, I will [expletive] destroy you,’ ” Williamson recalled.Williamson said he agreed to remove the blog post and did so later that night: “All I remember thinking was I was worried about what this guy was going to do.” He consulted a lawyer friend and was told he had probably not broken any laws. “What I said was pretty juvenile, I’ll admit,” he said.

In a phone interview Thursday, Carlson acknowledged that he approached Williamson in the store and said he was “very aggressive” because he wanted the post removed: “I don’t like to call the police or call his boss. . . . I’m a libertarian. I’m not into that.”

On Monday, Williamson said, his Potomac Video manager called and fired him. Williamson said he was told the company was threatened with legal action “and the owner doesn’t like that.” He re-posted the original Carlson item later that day. Williamson said he later learned that a man who identified himself as a lawyer for Carlson had been in the store and asked Potomac Video employees questions about him.

That’s Captain Ed, this monring. As Ed suggests, there’s a lot of other bloggers who are jumping in on this one on one side or the other.

Personally, I figure Williamson’s boss had every right to fire him.  One thing you have never seen me do, is blog about work.  I may make some comments with regards to one piece of software or another, I may even make a snipe in a software manufacturer, or a hardware manufacturer, but I have never done that about either people I work with, or for.  This kind of thing is precisely why I never will.

But there’s another factor here that needs to be brought up, that I’ve not seen mentioned thus far.  That being, I cannot imagine the target of such a blog entry, being a left wing host from, say, MSNBC, or any other, for that matter.  Granted, Tucker Carlson is centrist, if anything, but let’s face it; he is what passes as right wing on MSNBC anymore.  But, there it is.  AS Ed Says:

Free speech does not release one from responsibility for what they say and write. Writing about customers one serves at their job puts their employer at some risk for legal action as well as a negative impact on business. Williamson’s boss has every right to fire him if Williamson used his position as an employee to even threaten to abuse personal information on customers. If a video store cannot build trust with their customers that their information (including, say, credit card numbers) will only be used for the express purpose for which the customer shared it, then customers will go somewhere else, and the business will suffer.

There is, however, more to the issue when the blogger is right wing.  Such as, for example, this blog.  Speaking against the leftist mantra, has a tendency to put anyone’s speaking about work, in a particularly precarious position. where I’d take heart in this story, is that the tables, occasionally, can be turned.


I suppose I shouldn’t have to point this out, but let’s do a little comparison; a short time ago we were hearing all kinds of things from the left regards right to privacy issues; one of the favorites was that your video store purchases would be recorded and analyzed by the government.  Apparently, however, and they have no problem whatever with it being explored in the ‘sphere.   (At least, given the commentary I’ve seen thusfar.)

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