Ryan Kavanaugh Wins SLAPP Motion, Ethan Klein Loses with Damages Potentially in the Millions

In the matter of Kavanaugh vs. Klein, wherein Ryan Kavanaugh has sued Ethan Klein and h3h3Productions (aka H3 Podcast, Klein’s podcast company) and his affiliates for what could be many millions of dollars in damages, a key motion was ruled in favor of Kavanaugh in Los Angeles County Superior Court of California with Judges Helen Zukin and H. Jay Ford, III presiding.

Klein brought before the court what is referred to as an “anti-SLAPP motion”, which in cases like these are usually granted. SLAPP stands strategic lawsuits against public participation. California has one of the strongest anti-SLAPP stances with over 90 percent of anti-SLAPP motions granted (which means 10 percent or less, are found in favor of plaintiff, which could have been Kavanaugh in this case).

According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press “In ruling on the motion to strike, a California court will first determine whether the defendant established that the lawsuit arose from one of the statutorily defined protected speech or petition activities. Braun v. Chronicle Publ’g Co., 61 Cal. Rptr. 2d 58 (Cal. Ct. App. 1997). If that is the case, the judge will grant the motion unless the plaintiff can show a probability that he will prevail on the claim. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(b)(1). In making this determination, the court will consider the plaintiff’s complaint, the SLAPP defendant’s motion to strike, and any sworn statements containing facts on which the assertions in those documents are based. § 425.16(b)(2).”

The burden on the party, in this case Kavanaugh, is to prove that the defendant, in this case Klein and his affiliates, knowingly spread false and damaging information with an intent to harm – this is a very high bar to meet.

This ruling is significant in that it has almost the same effect as a complete case ruling – a ruling that Klein did in fact knowingly spread false and misleading statements with an intent to damage or harm Kavanaugh. The ramifications of Klein’s actions were amplified by the fact that Klein published the damaging statements to his large following on YouTube and other social media platforms – he published false statements to millions of people through his followers and extended network. He then encouraged those people to spread the false and misleading statements about Kavanaugh further by reposting and republishing on social accounts, blogs, podcasts, etc. Under tort law, each and every time it was republished or restated, further damages were incurred, leading to potentially one of the most massive defamation damages cases.

This could possibly become one of the most landmark cases of its type since the Hulk Hogan’s case in 2016 against Gawker where Hulk Hogan was awarded $140 Million in damages.

Individuals with highly vocal followings can be overwhelming and extremely damaging to personal and business reputations. Oftentimes attempts to stop or reason with these groups only further emboldens and excites them, leading to further attacks. Emboldened groups looking for approval from their “leader” can be steered in a negative direction, leading to a plague of internet “trolling”, destroying businesses and lives. Unfortunately, as Ryan Kavanaugh is a business person, one of the factors large institutions, banks and companies assess is what is called “reputational risk” when deciding on whether to do business with the party or not. When harmful and untrue information, such as in this case, is published and disseminated, it will usually trigger the reputational risk, such that doing business becomes much harder if not impossible. 

Kavanaugh, whom has brokered over $20 Billion of deals with some of the largest banks on Wall Street, and some of the largest entertainment transactions, could suffer extremely significant damages caused by Klein’s actions. Certain laws exist to offer parties damaged by this kind of language a method of stopping the attacks and stopping the spread of hateful language online. 

Ryan Kavanaugh Wins SLAPP Motion, Ethan Klein Loses with Damages Potentially in the Millions

(Photo : Ryan Kavanaugh Wins SLAPP Motion, Ethan Klein Loses with Damages Potentially in the Millions)

You can read in his own words, why Kavanaugh sued Ethan Klein here, from an opted he wrote in CSQ we were able to find online. 

Notably for this lawsuit, the judges found in the final ruling that:

“Plaintiff [Kavanaugh] has met his evidentiary burden to show facts sufficient to sustain a favorable judgment on his claims.”

Furthermore, the Court finds a reasonable trier of fact could determine that Klein’s statements were statements of fact, not opinion. This alone precludes the Court from finding that Klein’s statements were non-actionable statements of opinion based on fully disclosed, accurate facts.

Moreover, Klein’s presentation of the factual basis for his statements was both incorrect and


Other notable findings in the court’s final ruling include:

“Kavanaugh presents prima facie evidence of actual malice and Klein fails to establish the absence of actual malice as a matter of law… General Damages are presumed… Defendant fails to establish that CC §47(d) applies to bar Plaintiff’s action as a matter of law. As such, … defendant fails to defeat Plaintiff’s prima facie showing of defamation on the 2nd step of SLAPP.”

In the underlying case, Ryan Kavanaugh sued Ethan Klein for defamation and intentional harm after Klein used his following to spread multiple statements of false information. In such cases, for each and every time the statement was heard or read by one of Klein’s followers, possible additional damages accrue – this also applies to each time the statement was re-published by a follower or reader of Klein’s. In this case, Klein appears to have instructed and encouraged his followers to intentionally harm Kavanaugh, utilizing social platforms that have a broad reach such as YouTube, Reddit, Instagram, Discord and Twitter. 

Another strategy related to these types of attacks is to get negative content to appear at the top of Google searches for the person’s or business’ name. It appears Klein used this tactic as he has been able to get a very negative website he admits to having created to rank very high on Google searches – this website, which is filled with the same statements at the heart of this case, consistently appears in the 2nd position of search results when you search for Ryan Kavanaugh’s name. Klein even has this site listed as his own personal site on his Instagram profile (which has over 2 million followers).  We are in possession of discord and other messages where Klein has specifically instructed and encouraged his users to defame Kavanaugh and to “bring the most negative to the top of google” as well as Twit
ter and others. 

Kavanaugh also claims that Klein influenced others to alter Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia page – it appears to have been re-written by individuals likely paid directly or indirectly by Klein. Quoting Klein in a missive to his followers, “make Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia read as bad as possible” – Klein succeeded in his goal to have Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia page filled with false and erroneous information.

Klein evidently has two (or more) Wikipedia editors that he likely pays to make edits to Kavanaugh’s and other Wikipedia pages, who go by the names, “throast and Popoki35” – as can be seen from a simple wiki history search these individuals spend 90 percent of their time destroying Klein’s enemy de jour’s Wikipedia pages/profiles while making positive changes to Klein’s and H3’s profiles/pages. You can view their activity logs on Wikipedia, and clearly see that a majority of their activity over the past year has been spent on making defamatory edits to Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia page while propping up H3 and Kleins.

No doubt Klein has profited at the expense of Kavanaugh’s reputation (Although Klein and H3 frequently lose their sponsors due to his hate speech videos and racist comments). He made Kavanaugh a topic in over 10 of his podcasts on YouTube, and in many posts across social networks. Klein makes money from advertising and sponsorship dollars, and has sold t-shirts with Kavanaugh’s likeness and or name. Klein also sells merchandise with the username of one of the individuals he pays to destroy Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia, “Throast”, who he refers to as one of his “foot soldiers”. Whenever Klein wants to attack, harm or defame someone, he calls upon his foot soldiers and provides them instructions on what to do. It seems defaming Kavanaugh has been very profitable for Klein.

Ethan Klein and H3 have made a fortune from bullying, harassing and attempting to ruin people’s lives. Thanks to Kavanaugh, perhaps Klein’s days of maligning people may be over.

As stated in court documents from this case: 

“Klein has used, and continues to use, his celebrity status and social media influence to propagate highly damaging accusations about Mr. Kavanaugh, which Klein knew to be false, to fuel his personal vendetta against Mr. Kavanaugh and for his own financial gain.”

Klein, who is presumed to make millions per year even went so far as to create a GoFundMe page to fund his legal bills against Kavanaugh, raising money from his followers and the general public. This is despite his significant financial resources which includes at least two multi-million-dollar houses in Los Angeles, among other assets.

This case will likely be influenced by Klein’s long list of past actions, which include multiple racist, antisemitic, anti-gay, and xenophobic statements and behavior. Klein has been given two “strikes” from YouTube where he was not allowed to post for limited periods of time.

I was surprised to learn that YouTube has allowed Klein and his H3 channel to continue and not be permanently banned especially given his clear bigotry and violent statements, not least of which includes frequent use the words “ni**er” and “fa**ot” on YouTube and other media outlets. His channel is still up and profiting whereas most other channels and users would be shut down for such actions and statements.

It seems that Klein has a “special status” with YouTube, granted by his “friendship” with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. You can do a Google search for “Ethan Klein and Susan Wojcicki” to find dozens of online sources referencing their relationship that clearly gives Ethan special treatment and the ability to publish content that would get most other creators banned. As we recently have learned from the Twitter files released by its owner Elon Musk, certain people are given special weight based on their relationship with Twitter or other status – it seems YouTube does the same (incidentally, Ethan Klein was banned by Twitter too). I’ve personally never encountered another instance where a party has published this many hate casts without being banned. While YouTube gave him a one week ban for suggesting certain people be the first to be “gassed during the next holocaust“, his channel is still prominent and generating revenue.

In Klein’s own words, bragging about how he can say whatever he wants with no consequence, “[YouTube] can’t cancel me… I just love how the words roll off your tongue… ni**er fa**ot”.

Kavanaugh’s damages are expected to be in millions to tens of millions, given the depth and exposure of the statements made against Kavanaugh, the legions of people whom it was broadcast to, and the significant amount of reposting. What will hurt Klein in this case is how well-documented all of his statements against Kavanaugh are. There are copies of Klein’s tweets, podcasts, videos, and missives all over Reddit, YouTube, Twitter and more. I am certain Kavanaugh’s legal team is in possession of these and will use them against him in court. One of the more damming actions taken by Klein was openly and publicly encouraging his followers to destroy Kavanaugh’s reputation via his social presence for over a year.

Evidence suggests that Ethan Klein could be found guilty of defamation, libel, and slander, after maliciously attacking Ryan Kavanaugh. The evidence for the defamatory acts of Klein and his followers was abundantly clear: 

  1. Ethan Klein destroyed Ryan Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia with false information

  2. Ethan Klein published defamatory, negative websites, full of false information

  3. Ethan Klein published multiple podcasts and YouTube videos with false information

  4. Ethan Klein encouraged his followers to post negative comments on videos or articles for Ryan Kavanaugh or his business ventures

Kavanaugh is definitely not the only person who takes issue with Klein and his actions – In fact, there are more than one website dedicated to informing the world of Ethan Klein‘s malicious actions, and banning Ethan Klein for homophobic and racist speech on social media platforms (see also thebanofethanklein.com, although it appears to be outdated).

Ryan Kavanaugh’s SLAPP lawsuit deals only with defamation and hate speech directed towards Ryan Kavanaugh and his businesses, but does not address the woes of anyone else – at least though, this is one case where Ethan Klein will be held accountable for his content and his mobilization of his followers. I would be surprised if others didn’t “follow suit” in the most literal sense.

Perhaps it’s time that Google / YouTube, Reddit, Instagram and others finally ban the hate-filled and damaging accounts created and managed by Ethan Klein. It’s quite clear that Klein is in violation of the terms of service for these platforms by posting harmful, negative and damaging statements, and hate speech towards individuals, and minority groups.

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