Help Qutens with Legal Fees

I have been sent a Cease and Desist under false pretenses in a targeted attempt to silence my support of victims of abuse in my community.


Dear Reader,

In September of 2020, I posted a tweet containing a link to a document consisting of a series of testimonies detailing victims’ personal accounts of abusive and problematic behavior in regards to their experiences with LuckyCoyote/BlondeFoxy. I had no hand in writing the document, nor publishing it. I simply shared the link via tweet on my public twitter account, which many others have linked to, and continue to share. In the original tweet, I had stated that I was not a victim of Lucky, but instead was sharing the document on behalf of the victims, using my platform to empower their voices. I believed the testimonies of these individuals and I still believe them to be true, so I do not want to remove my tweet. I feel that deleting my tweet could result in other victims being afraid to speak out against abuse. It was never my intention to fuel harassment towards Lucky or DHC, rather to shed light on the pattern of behavior that had hurt many, and may continue to do so if left unaddressed. The goal was to help and inform members of the community about the harm and/or trauma caused by Lucky.

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On January 19th, 2021, I received a Cease and Desist letter from the Minc Firm, a law firm representing LuckyCoyote and her husband, SkuffCoyote, on behalf of their company Don’t Hug Cacti (DHC). [Please note that I will be referring to their usernames and not their legal names, as I do not wish to doxx them if that is not already public information]. The letter accuses me of making defamatory statements against them and their company, which I have not done on any public platform to date. It also accuses me of running an instagram account that relays the information in the document, which I do not have any affiliation with the creation or operation of. The letter asks me to take down the document of testimonies, accusing me of publishing it, which I did not, and I do not have the power to take it down. It is my understanding that I am being targeted in this campaign because my tweet gained a lot of traction, and it’s removal would help DHC cover up this controversy without addressing it. At the time of writing this GoFundMe, LuckyCoyote has yet to release any statement on the matter, and DHC has since taken down their statements on twitter about the matter, while also removing any instagram messages asking or addressing the controversy in any way.

It is my opinion, this is a SLAPP suit. A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. [source ] This tactic is not uncommon unfortunately, as larger corporations/landlords/etc. can drop thousands of dollars on letters like these as scare tactics, knowing that working class individuals have no hope of being able to afford defending themselves and simply must accept silence or risk the financial ramifications, regardless of if they are within the right even according to the law. Things like the #MeToo movement is social media’s attempt to give a voice to those people who have none, which is what I was trying to do in my original tweet and will continue to do.

I am fighting this, because I believe if DHC succeeded using this method, it would set a precedent that victims can be silenced with enough money and intimidation, even in a subculture such as the furry fandom.

In order to protect myself, I would need to hire an attorney of my own. I’ve been given an estimate that this would cost around $10,000 for pre-litigation fees. I reached out to some of the individuals who wrote testimonies to inform them that this was happening, and that I did not intend to change my position. They graciously offered to help me pay for the legal fees with what they could. Since then we have been trying to raise the funds for this. We are working class citizens; many of us artists in this community, with rent, food, children, and other financial burdens that we have to prioritize that makes us unable to meet the goal needed on our own. So I humbly turn to my community for support.

The estimate I have been given operates similarly to a security deposit. Most law firms require a retainer, meaning my legal team may not end up using all of the money for this case, and what is not used would be refunded to me. Whatever money is not used for these legal fees will be donated to the Joyful Heart Foundation  in hopes to continue to uplift the voices of victims of abuse who, too often, are silenced.

This issue has unfortunately escalated beyond the opinions of whether it’s okay to buy a product by someone who is deemed unsavory in a community. This is about the right to speak up about injustices on public platforms freely and truthfully. This is the legal nightmare victims are afraid of when speaking up about their abusers. The process is extremely long, expensive, and often traumatizing. For many, social media is the only place for victims to have their voices heard. These people have stood up to voice their concerns, which is in no way defamation or slander according to the law. Regardless if you find the testimonies significant, it is still their right to speak their truth without fear of legal repercussions and the financial and emotional burden that comes with that. I want to continue to support them and others in doing so.

It can be incredibly hard to speak up about such issues, which was why I wanted to help out these people in the first place, some of whom are my friends. We, as a community, need to continue to fight for our rights to speak out against abuse and stand up against injustices.

If you are able, please consider donating. The suggested donation is $10, but if you can give more please consider doing so. If you could only give $1-- every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated. To put this into perspective, if everyone who liked my original tweet donated $3, we would have more than enough to fund this. If you can’t afford to donate, please help spread the word and give this exposure.

I am not a victim of Lucky Coyote, as I’ve said before, but I refuse to be intimidated by a private company's attempts to silence a victim's message. They have not even attempted to resolve this out of court, with me or the authors of the document. I did not think it would come to this, and it saddens me that Lucky could not apologize for her actions and instead has chosen to threaten 3rd parties like myself. I and the victims have attempted to be as transparent, open, and honest as possible while DHC has repeatedly been deceitful and dismissive in the face of criticism. I hope that in time we as a community can come together, grow, and heal from this issue as I know it has personally affected so many. 

I appreciate your time in reading this. I will have an ongoing list of frequently asked questions below. 

Thank you,
Skylar “qutens” Clayton

DISCLAIMER
I still do not condone any harassment to Lucky or DHC. I believe that actions can be criticized and commented on, and that criticism is a healthy way for our community to keep a high standard. I do not want Lucky, Skuff, or DHC and their affiliates to be sent death threats or inappropriate messages over this matter. Feedback has always been essential for understanding the needs of our fellow human beings and the expectations we have for one another. Our mistakes don't have to define us; everyone makes mistakes, but how we handle the critique of our peers can define our character. We as a community can ask for retribution without vilification. Even though I am saddened and personally offended by how DHC has chosen to handle this situation, two wrongs don’t make a right, and abusing Lucky on social media will not help those abused by her. My intention was only ever to inform my community and use my platform to help victims speak about their personal abuse.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Wait, what’s going on?
TL;DR: The company DHC hired a lawyer to send me a Cease and Desist letter for tweeting a link to a document I didn’t write and is accusing me of running several accounts to relay this information, which I have not done.


What’s a Cease and Desist?
A Cease and Desist letter puts a person or business on notice that they are allegedly engaging in illegal activity, and if they do not stop, someone could potentially pursue legal action against them. It essentially serves as a warning and does not have any immediate legal consequences in the same way an order from the court or other government agency would. [Source ]


So why are you getting a C&D? Did you break the law?
I have not broken the law in any way. I have not harassed DHC or their clients. I simply tweeted a link to a collection of testimonies, to help give a larger platform to people I believe to be victims of abuse. Below my tweet I asked people not to harass DHC or their affiliates. However my tweet did gain a lot of traction, and it is my belief that in an attempt to make the situation go away, DHC is attempting to scare me into a legal battle I can not afford even if I’m in the right. 


How can they send you a legal letter if you didn’t break the law?
A C&D is not a court order. Anyone can technically send one if you find a law firm who will do it for you. This method is called a SLAPP suit.


What’s a SLAPP suit?
A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.


Did Lucky or Skuff contact you before sending a C&D through a law firm?
No, I have never spoken to Lucky or Skuff.


Did Lucky or Skuff contact anyone in the document before sending this C&D?
To my knowledge, neither Lucky nor Skuff have reached out to anyone involved in the document directly.
Skuff did quote retweet the document post once asking if the victims would join him on a livestream, but after the community pointed out how inappropriate that way of communicating was, he deleted his Twitter and some other social media platforms. None of them were contacted privately by Skuff after that.


So the document you tweeted, was it about DHC?
No. The document I linked to had no mention of the company Don’t Hug Cacti. It is a collection of personal experiences with Lucky Coyote, who happens to work for DHC and is married to the company’s owner.


Why do you need a lawyer?
Morally and legally, I don’t believe myself to be in the wrong, and I want to stand up to injustice and uplift the voices of people who might not have a chance. I feel that deleting my tweet might result in other victims being afraid to speak up against abuse. However, I simply cannot ignore this and I take it with the utmost seriousness. So in the event that Lucky or Skuff pursue this case I need to have a legal defense in place. And given DHC’s inability to contact me privately before pursuing this legally, I do not trust they won’t pursue a case without proper warning and ample time to prepare myself.


What if you don’t get a lawyer?
If I don’t have an attorney, DHC could pursue a legal case against me which could cost a minimum of $25,000 just to defend myself, which I cannot afford. So I have no choice but to be preemptive.


Why not just take down the tweet?
Legally or morally I don’t believe myself to be in the wrong. I refuse to be intimidated by a private company's attempt to silence someone’s personal message knowing that I don’t have the funds to defend myself. I do not want to set a precedent for other people in my community that if they speak about their abuse they will face financial ramifications they can’t afford.


What Instagram account?
There are two Instagram accounts I’m aware of detailing the document, here  and here . Minc Law did not distinguish which account they are referring to in the Cease and Desist. I did not create either of these accounts and I do not operate either of them.

What happens if you do not secure the funds?
I will speak to my lawyer on the best way to proceed if I do not secure the funds for the retainer. However, morally I stand behind what I have said on this matter.

What happens if you do secure the funds?
It is a $10,000 retainer for the lawyer. Meaning that I pay them the money, they handle the issue legally with DHC’s law team, and I am charged from the retainer accordingly. I hope that this will be resolved out of court. The legal team I contacted predicts that the entire 10K will not be used fully. In the event that some of the money is returned to me, I will be donating any extra money to an anti-abuse charity to help continue to give victims a voice where they have none.

What if this goes to court?
Honestly, I don’t know and I hope that it does not get to that point.

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Organizer

Mary Clayton 
Organizer
Albuquerque, NM
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