Attorney Charles J. Harder, who previously represented Hulk Hogan in his multimillion-dollar suit against Gawker Media, is involved in a defamation case against women’s website, Jezebel.com, according to New York Daily News. The website was launched by Gawker Media in 2007 and was acquired by Univision Communications in 2016 following the Hogan trial verdict.
Harder’s new client is Oregon-based life coach, Gregory Scherick, known professionally as “International Scherick.” He is the founder of a therapy group called Superstar Machine. In 2016, Jezebel published an article about Scherick and his work titled “Inside Superstar Machine, Which Ex-Members Say Is a Cult Preying on New York’s Creative Women.” The former members of Scherick’s therapy group quoted in the article felt that Scherik’s group “preyed upon” disenfranchised creative women.
Scherick’s filing claims he was defamed by the Jezebel article and claims he lost 70 percent of his clientele since the article was published. “Superstar Machine is not a cult by any stretch of the imagination … Among other things, there is no religious component to the group. It encourages its members to become stronger individuals through certain guidance and advice. It does not attempt to instill Mr. Scherick’s opinions on its members nor does it use rewards or punishments to force members to act in a certain manner.”
In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Gizmodo Media Group told Rolling Stone: “This case is nothing more than another obvious attempt by Charles Harder to intimidate journalists. The story in question was published on May 10, 2016 – months before our acquisition of certain Gawker Media assets, including Jezebel. Any litigation over the story should have been brought against Gawker Media in bankruptcy court – not against Gizmodo Media Group or the individual writers. We believe this suit is meritless and we plan to contest it vigorously.”
Harder famously helped Hogan take down Gawker Media last year after the company published a secretly recorded sex tape in 2012.