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Michigan AG Defends Employee’s Cyber-bullying

Jim Burroway

September 30th, 2010

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says state Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell is only expressing his opinions, which has nothing to do with his job defending crime victims — including, presumably, victims of cyber-bullying:

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Campus Pride has re-issued its 2010 survey of American college students, which found that 33% of gay and 30% of transgender students, faculty, and staff have seriously considered leaving their institution due to the challenging anti-LGBT climate. Thirteen percent of gay students, faculty and staff and 43% of transgender students, faculty and staff fear for their own physical safety. A 2006 poll by Harris Interactive found that 43% of all teens regardless of sexual orientation have experienced cyber-bullying over the prior year. An Iowa State University study found that LGBT youth are hit especially hard by cyber-bullying.

But AG Cox sees nothing wrong with cyber-bullying this particular college student. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, by the way — Shirvell served as Cox’s campaign manager back in 2006.



Regan DuCasse
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

What a load of double talk!
Shirvell is bearing false witness. He is making claims and accusations against Armstrong that are made to deliberate hurt him.
Slanderous and libelous.

This exceeds having an opinion and every right to express it.
This is about a smear campaign, physical stalking (picketing in front of Armstrong’s home), and invasive behavior, no matter how much Armstrong tries to ignore this guy.

If the AG has a definition of cyber bullying in the code of state law, and his assist is ENGAGING in it, then he IS behaving with conduct unbecoming the office. When one is a public representative of a law enforcement agent, one’s off hours still require behavior and actions that are conducive to the protections of the rights of others.
An AG and his reps cannot engage in anything that contradicts that and expect to be credible.

What is it about the ADF and so called Christians like Shirvell and Cox that decide that a specific Christian commandment about bearing false witness is forgiven when the target is gay?

Timothy Kincaid
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not sure exactly how libel laws could apply. Perhaps Armstrong is enough of a “public person” that he is exempt from protection, but Shirvell also attacks Armstrong’s friends and the family of those friends. Like James Hartline, his targets of blame include the most tangentially related persons.

Timothy Kincaid
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

Perhaps more interesting is why Cox is keeping someone on his staff who is CLEARLY intellectually challenged. Look at this series of posts:

First, Armstrong held a party for friends at his dorm room. A few facebooked that they had fun. Shirvell took this comment:

Had a blast last night. Thank you for hosting the night of
homosexual shenanigans.

to mean that the party was an orgy.

Put “homosexual” in front of “shenanigans” and it is quite apparent that Habratowski was indeed referring to a “gay” orgy.

The fact that Armstrong would host a homosexual orgy – at his U of M dorm no less – is sickening.

Responding, Armstrong’s friends mocked Shirvell’s histrionics in a series of ridiculous comments such as:

Oh my god, yes! I had so much sex that night! What a fabulous night of homosexual shenanigans.


Apparently you host the best gay orgies. . . Ever!

Shirvell took them at face value and as confirmation that the party was indeed an orgy. Even the way-over-the-top comment:

I miss you and our rampant sexual adventures with multiple people at multiple locations such as churches and children’s playgrounds. Maybe some day in the future ;)

played into Shirvell’s paranoid imaginings:

Was Roberts merely being facetious? Perhaps. But the overwhelming evidence says otherwise.

First, Armstrong’s reaction to the post is telling. Like other recent FB posts from Armstrong’s friends that in any way mention Armstrong’s sexual promiscuity, Roberts’ post was deleted in short order, according to several sources. This shows yet again Armstrong’s tendency to cover-up unpleasant truths.

Second, according to sources familiar with Armstrong’s so-called inner circle, Roberts is indeed close with Armstrong, and it is supposedly well-known in Ann Arbor’s radical homosexual community that they have “hooked-up here and there.”

Third, highly promiscuous homosexual men, such as Armstrong, are often arrested at night in public parks for engaging in public sex acts. Frequently, homosexual men meet at the parks’ public facilities, such as restrooms, and children’s playgrounds can usually be found in close proximity.

This is not just “poor judgment” or “political opinion”. This is weird stuff, the sort of ranting that hints at mental illness. This sort of thing is more James Hartline than anything else and should give ANY employer concern.

Andrew Shirvell should never be conducting the state’s legal business. Not for his views (which are peculiar and obsessive) but because he quite clearly is incapable of evaluating language, recognizing sarcasm, or (and this is essential to the legal trade) applying even the most basic of logical thought to a situation.

He simply isn’t mentally well enough, and is a liability to the State.

Chris McCoy
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

I know emotions are running high due to the confluence of recent events, but the reality is, the AG has a valid point – the writings of Mr Shirvell are detestable, but he has a Constitutional Right to say them.

The 1st Amendment protects our right to say things that other people find offensive, just as it protects Mr Shirvell’s right to say things that offend us.

Is Mr Shirvell a cyber-bully? Absolutely. Is being a cyber-bully a constitutionally protected activity? Yes.

Anderson Cooper mentioned in the previous video that was linked here at BTB, that Mr Armstrong is pursuing legal action against Mr Shirvell. The Court of Law is the proper place for this to play out.

Emily K
September 30th, 2010 | LINK

The legal guy on AC also said he has a guaranteed right to free speech – NOT a guaranteed right to a job.

I can’t go work for a factory and then start spouting off industry secrets on a blog and expect to keep my job. That’s ridiculous. I’d be a detriment to the company; of course I should be fired in that case.

Likewise, Shirvell shouldn’t be able to breach cyber-bullying measures while holding the position of a person who is supposed to see that those measures are enforced, and the citizenry protected.

October 1st, 2010 | LINK

This AG is dancing as best he can, and he’s NOT defending the AAG — he’s clear about his distaste for this person’s behavior, and he’s clear about this person being a bully. There are, however, limits to what he can do effectively from a legal and a political standpoint, and he also has to be wise about the best way to allow this to play out. It makes no sense to expose the state of MI to a huge lawsuit, and potentially inadvertantly uphold Shirvell’s rights here when other remedies — better remedies — exist. I think it’s absolutely true that the best place for this to play out is in court… and on TV, frankly. Shame is can also be a very effective corrective measure. Now, once a cease-and-desist order exists, things can change rapidly. Failure to respect a court order has immediate and obvious repurcussions.

In the meantime, what do we have here is critical — a conservative voice in the AG saying “that behavior is wrong”. Now it’s up to Armstrong to stand up and sue the living crap out of this a-hole.

October 1st, 2010 | LINK

Emily K, the difference here is the fact that Andrew has a govenment job, not a private one. The First Amendment protects your speech from retribution from the government. I don’t envy Cox’s position. Its quite a sticky wicket. The dude is clearly nuts, but he hasn’t broken the law, and I doubt he signed any contract that covered this. Already the ACLU has taken Andrew’s side, and says “the answer to hate speech is more speech”. A lawsuit is inevitable since Cox has reversed his posiation and suspended Andrew. I’m not sure what the right thing is; it’s not as clear-cut as the Chambliss staffer’s death threat.

Chris McCoy
October 1st, 2010 | LINK

Ryan wrote:

A lawsuit is inevitable since Cox has reversed his posiation and suspended Andrew.

The AG is saying that it’s a voluntary leave of absence and he was not suspended.

However, Mr Shirvell has made the blog not publicly viewable.

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