COMMENTARY | Anthony Morelli, a divorced dad in Pennsylvania, has been ordered to take down his blog, Psycho Ex Wife, which, unsurprisingly, details the alleged misdeeds and bad traits of his ex and mother of their two minor children. His description reportedly called her “terroristic,” and suffering from what he and his current girlfriend think is borderline personality disorder, according to the NY Daily News.
He is appealing the judge’s ruling, issuing a press release decrying the interference with his First Amendment rights and even soliciting donations. According to the site, he’s so far received $5,800 out of the $15,000 he claims he needs.
According to the “Today” show’s DigitalLife, his blog received an enviable 200,000 hits per month, and secured advertising, when the judge shut it down. Anthony claimed that he did not think his ex-wife and their children would see it.
Well, they did.
While the couple divorced seven years ago, it seems an understatement that relations have remained contentious. With the site down, it’s hard to know what he said, but it was enough to have the children asking him to take it down, reports the Huffington Post.
It appears Morelli may be willing to take this case as high as it will go. While he might Larry Flynt his way into the annals of First Amendment history, will he want to be remembered as the man who championed the cause, as Judge Diane Gibbons put it, of “publicly browbeating” his ex-wife?
That Morelli argues he has a constitutional right to publicly humiliate and insult the mother of his children is, frankly, embarrassing. Because no matter how poor her behavior (barring abuse of the children, which does not seem to be alleged), denouncing her, subjecting her to likely stares and giggles at the boys’ school and at the grocery store, airing his personal feelings about her, is just kinda mean.
Granted, “mean” isn’t a test of constitutionality.
But when it comes to the children also likely being subject to stares, giggles, or watching their mother treated in that way, it does affect the best interests of the children, the standard for determining issues of child custody. The best interests of the kids, not the First Amendment, are the heart of this case. And bad-mouthing the other parent is often considered when evaluating the children’s best interest.
There is no world in which seven years of open animosity is healthy for children. There is also no guarantee that his children will never evoke the level of anger and ire required to maintain a site like the one he had.
We can argue about “rights” until the money’s all gone, but Morelli needs to focus on his children. They’ve told him how they feel about the site, but he’s going to great lengths and great expense to ignore them.