City Desk

The FishbowlDC Lawsuit Is a Work of Art

Betsy Rothstein

FishbowlDC editor Betsy Rothstein has many feuds, but perhaps her most inexplicable has been against publicist Wendy Gordon. Starting in 2011, Rothstein and Fishbowl blogger Peter Ogburn started "Wendy Wednesday," running pictures of Gordon with snarky comments.

Wendy Wednesdays got pretty ugly, with Fishbowl depicting Gordon as a sex-starved lush lurking around the Washington party circuit. The origins of the feud, or why Gordon deserved to be treated this way, were never clear—Gordon once told me that she didn't know, and Rothstein never explained it.

Now Gordon's fighting back. Yesterday she filed a defamation lawsuit against Rothstein, Ogburn, parent website mediabistro.com, and parent company WebMediaBrands Inc. for $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages. (One Wendy Wednesday post landed the day Gordon's mother died, distressing her even more, according to the lawsuit.)

"Defendants falsely depicted Ms. Gordon as a self-promoting, attention-seeking, loose party girl/cougar, constantly on the prowl for considerably younger men for casual, sexual relations," the lawsuit reads. In a statement, WebMediaBrands General Counsel Mitchell Eisenberg said the claims had no merit. The offending blog posts have been taken down from FishbowlDC.

Here's what Fishbowl said about Gordon, according to the complaint, and how the lawsuit responds.

On blowing Marion Barry:

FISHBOWL: "This week we have found the scariest Wendy picture to date. It's a shot of Wendy wishing she was working the waxy wang of one time Washington mayor, Hizzoner Marion Barry."

GORDON: "Ms. Gordon was not 'wishing she was working the waxy wang' of Mayor Berry (sic), and to suggest otherwise is not only false and defamatory, but disgusting and in extremely poor taste."

On chlamydia:

FISHBOWL: "We have have a burning and enduring love for Wendy that grows stronger with every week. Kind of like chlamydia..."

GORDON: "Defendants also put Ms. Gordon in a false light by comparing her to chlamydia, a venereal disease, or implying that Ms. Gordon might have chlamydia, which she does not."

On being "down to fuck":

FISHBOWL: "Wendy is DTF and on the prowl."

GORDON:"Ms. Gordon was not 'DTF' (i.e. 'down to fuck' or looking to have sex) or 'on the prowl' at this charity event."

On radioactive thighs:

FISHBOWL: "Considering Tiger is made of wax, we are hoping that his neck doesn't melt from the radioactive heat emitted from Wendy."

GORDON: "Ms. Gordon does not emit some type of unusual heat between her legs that would cause a wax figure to melt."

On being a cougar:

FISHBOWL: "Say hello to Cougar Wendy!"

GORDON: "For some time now, and including in August 2012, Ms. Gordon has been involved in a relationship with a man her own age."

Again, on having an STD:

FISHBOWL: "So, give yourself an extra blast of AXE body spray, maybe think about double bagging it and say hello to Cougar Wendy!"

GORDON: "Defendant also stated that anyone seeking to have sexual relations with Ms. Gordon would want to wear two condoms (i.e. 'double bagging'), falsely implying that Ms. Gordon has some loathsome disease."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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