Gary Wilson (Your Brain on Porn) Wins Legal Victory Against Sexologist Nicole Prause’s Efforts to Silence Him
Vocal porn researcher’s attempted restraining order denied as frivolous; must pay substantial attorney fees in a SLAPP ruling.
ASHLAND, OREGON: August 16, 2020: Best-selling author and public health advocate Gary Wilson has won a legal victory against sexology researcher and pornography proponent Nicole Prause. On August 6, the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Prause’s attempt to obtain a restraining order against Wilson constituted a frivolous and illegal “strategic lawsuit against public participation” (commonly called a “SLAPP suit”). In essence, the Court found that Prause abused the restraining order process to bully Wilson into silence and undercut his rights to free speech. By law, the SLAPP ruling obligates Prause to pay Wilson’s attorney fees.
Wilson is the author of the best selling book Your Brain On Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction, presenter of the immensely popular TEDx talk “The Great Porn Experiment,” (13+ million views) and host of the website www.YourBrainOnPorn.com, a clearinghouse for the latest research, media, and self-reports on pornography’s effects and harms. Wilson has long critiqued Prause’s published research and public statements about pornography use.
“It is ironic that the porn industry cloaks itself in First Amendment protections while porn proponents like Nicole Prause attempt to limit and silence criticism about the well-documented risks of porn’s harm to its users and to the public,” Wilson said after the Court ruling. “This is another important victory over the defamation and harassment endured by advocates who dare to speak publicly about porn’s harms.“
The legal victory comes on the heels of a complaint against UK-based SCRAM Media for publishing a story falsely claiming that Prause had received “death threats” as the consequence of a crowdfunding campaign by NoFap host, Alex Rhodes. According to a UK press release, the SCRAM story falsely stated that NoFap and Rhodes affiliated themselves with right-wing extremists (including anti-Semites); incited extremists to harass Prause; conducted a crowdfund that led to Prause being stalked; and filed a frivolous lawsuit in US Federal Court in order to stymie Prause’s academic research. When presented with evidence disproving those claims, SCRAM retracted the article, paid Rhodes substantial damages and legal costs, and apologized publicly, before shutting down entirely.
Prause is being sued in two unrelated federal civil lawsuits accusing her of making knowingly false and damaging statements about people who have raised concerns about internet porn: Donald L. Hilton, Jr. v. Nicole Prause, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Texas San Antonio Division, Case No. 5: 19-CV-00755-OLG; and Alexander Rhodes v. Nicole Prause, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 2:19-cv-01366. In those cases, the plaintiffs allege Prause made untrue, defamatory statements accusing them of stalking, sexual harassment, and antisemitism, and claiming they were under investigation by law enforcement and professional licensing bodies. In each case, numerous men and women have come forward with sworn statements that Prause has also targeted them.
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