The Trials of Nadia Naffe

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 4, 2013

NEWS_030113_NaffeSteps_main 
Nadia Naffe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2013.

 

Where are they now?

Brett Kimberlin remains a lightning rod for right-wing activists. In February 2012, conservatives announced a startup alliance backed by Foster Friess, the billionaire whose son helped finance Naffe’s search for SEIU buses in Boston. Named the National Bloggers Club, the new nonprofit was described by one Texas columnist as a counterweight to left-wing blog battalions. As its first order of business, the National Bloggers Club declared May 25, 2012, to be “Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.” The campaign was a rousing success. Michelle Malkin warned: “Kimberlin is a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon. This is literally a matter of life and death.” Glenn Beck dedicated most of his radio show to the controversy, welcoming both Frey and Aaron Walker (see “Beyond Description”) to introduce “the Soros-funded domestic terrorist Brett Kimberlin.” Someone even posted a dis song on YouTube about the Speedway bombings. In January 2013, one conservative blog — written by an attorney who’s defending Frey in Naffe’s lawsuit — named Brett Kimberlin the “Censorious Asshat of the Year.”

READ MORE: " 'Beyond Description' : Brett Kimberlin vs. Aaron Walker"

Last October, James O’Keefe got a regional field director fired from President Obama’s re-election campaign after the woman helped an undercover Project Veritas staffer cast votes in Texas and Florida. That same month, his posse initiated a similar fate for the son of Virginia congressman Jim Moran for advising a mole on how to dodge voter ID laws. Not even the Sandy Hook shooting slowed O’Keefe; in January, Project Veritas ventured to the doorsteps of New York journalists, asking liberal media personalities if they’d be willing to hang a sign on their home that says, “This Home Is Proudly Gun-Free.” Hilarity ensued.

John Patrick Frey is still blogging, often several times a day. He still hates all things liberal and Obama, and recently celebrated his site’s 10th birthday. In a retrospective post he wrote: “Over the years, I have amassed 723,852 comments, made on 16,566 posts, and 33,267,955 page views. . . . I’ve also experienced harassment of my wife and children; publication of my home address and pictures of my home; threats of violence and death; State Bar complaints; Google bombing of my name and job title coupled with scurrilous accusations; numerous lawsuit threats; one lawsuit filing, numerous workplace complaints . . . and I have been SWATted — all for expressing my views.”

Naffe’s lawsuit against Frey persists.On February 20, her attorneys filed an opposition to Frey’s motion to dismiss Naffe’s suit. They are awaiting a response. Frey’s attorney, a fellow conservative blogger named Kenneth White, tells the Phoenix: “We will be filing our replies to Ms. Naffe’s oppositions to our motions. We believe that the replies — which are due on March 4th — will demonstrate conclusively that the oppositions have no merit and the motions are correct. We will argue them in court, and respectfully decline to argue them in the press.” Among the arguments in Frey’s most recent filing: “Ms. Naffe claims to the court that her speech was chilled, the facts show that she explicitly bragged on her blog that her speech was not chilled, and that she has discussed how she would use this lawsuit to pursue her own political goals.”

Naffe remains at Harvard, though she says that she’s had trouble getting school loans. Her identity and credit-card numbers have been stolen, and she was recently advised by the IRS to apply for a new Social Security number. A few months ago, she says someone tried to buy a car in her name. Standing in Harvard Square, puffing a La Gloria Cubana cigar, Naffe appears to be poised. But look past her tough veneer, and she’s concerned about fallout from her continuing suit against Frey. Naffe admits she’s afraid — of Allen, of Breitbart lackeys, of her shadow when the trolling gets abrasive. At the time of her last sit-down with the Phoenix, she complained about having to move twice to dodge threats, and of the debt and stress that so much bullshit has caused her.

Still, Naffe is determined to complete her graduate degree up North, and has a new game plan — to teach “underserved kids.” She already has a first-class social-justice mentor in Mel King, the legendary Boston activist who now works with youth in the South End. “I have changed my major, and outlook, and ideas,” says Naffe. “I don’t want to make another CEO rich. I’m not in it for that. I’m done with that.”

She continues: “Frey is obviously trying to have something done to me. He’s not trying to tell people where I am, and where I go to school, so they can come and help me — he’s doing it because he wants them to harm me. I never thought that a lawyer would do something like this. He’s shocked that I’m not a coward, and that I didn’t run away and hide. . . . It’s been a very scary journey — the only thing that I can do now is keep myself safe. Sometimes, I think if I would have stopped hanging out with my conservative friends, I would have never met James O’Keefe. None of this would have ever happened.”

Lauren DiTullio assisted with additional reporting for this story. Chris Faraone is a staff writer at thePhoenix. His first book, 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, was released last year. The sequel, I Killed Breitbart, drops mid-2013. He can be reached at cfaraone@phx.com or @FARA1.

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