Wikipedia editors sued for defamation

Four Wackypedia editors have been sued for defamation by a Canadian businessman over changes they made to his page.

The case, filed in Ventura County’s Superior Court on June 11, said the four editors conspired to tarnish the name of entrepreneur, musician, and philanthropist Yank Barry.

Named were Richard Fife, Nate Gertler, Ethan Urbanik, and John Nagle.

The case focuses on VitaPro foods which Barry founded in the late 1980s. The company creates textured vegetable protein aimed at cutting down on worldwide meat consumption.

All was going well until the mid-1990s, Barry and former Texas Department of Criminal Justice head James Collins were convicted of a kickback scheme involving VitaPro and Texas prisons.

A jury convicted Collins of taking at least $20,000 from VitaPro Foods in exchange for pushing through a five-year, $33.7 million contract to distribute a soy-based granular substance to Texas inmates to cut food costs.

At the time Associated Press said that Barry was convicted of the same charges—bribery, money laundering and conspiracy—for allegedly paying the bribes.

However Collins and Barry were acquitted in 2005.

The Wikipedia editors made 31 different entries made on Barry’s Wikipedia page which could be libellous, Barry claimed.

To make matters worse the talk section for Barry’s Wikipedia page, one editor “Ganbarreh” states that Fife “made a clear statement about his agenda to maintain defamatory material on the subject’s page in order to cause financial harm and threaten the subjects’ livelihood”.

Fife admits that it wasn’t his “finest wikipedia moment” and that his edit was intended to “prepare for large amounts of edits biased towards the positive to the article”.

Barry said that he tried to resolve many of the issues with his page diplomatically but was ultimately forced to take legal action.

He told PR NewsChannel  that his page was so ridiculously false and made me sound like a terrible person and people believed it causing deals to fall through.

At least Wackpedia editors did not do what they did to the Everywhere Girl and Mike Magee and attempt to make them disappear completely.