Someone in New Jersey apparently shot a bipedal bear, and now there’s a defamation lawsuit over it.
This story blew up on the internet — people even named the bear Pedals. And several hunters were accused of shooting Pedals the bipedal bear.
The internet focused primarily on one hunter, John DeFillippo. He filed a defamation lawsuit against six different people on social media who said he was the killer of Pedals, according to Wide Open Spaces.
DeFilippo’s lawsuit says these people spread rumors, made inappropriate comments about him, and apparently posted photos of his house, sharing info about his family and his job.
“The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, but not all speech,” said DeFilippo’s attorney, Wolfgang Robinson. “There is no such thing as a constitutional right to make false statements about others. The defendants that have been named in this lawsuit falsely stated that my client harvested Pedals the Bear. He did not.”
DeFilippo is not alone in his fight to protect his hunting reputation.
Other hunters, like Michael Bush and Nickey Pisco, have filed defamation lawsuits regarding this. These two are suing are also suing Susan Kehoe, a bear activist who apparently harassed them over the killing of the bear.
However, Kehoe’s lawyer said her social media post is protected under the First Amendment. On the other hand, Bush and Pisco’s lawyers said Kehoe made the post to intentionally cause them harm.
Most people say Pedals was in fact shot and killed, but it can’t be proven because the bear was never tagged. This means no one has been found guilty of Pedals’ murder.
So, against popular belief, Pedals could actually be out there, walking around on his hind legs.
Check out a video of Pedals doing his thing: