LA Progressive

In the Name of Free Speech: Winograd Fights Back — UPDATED

Published 12 December 2014. Updated Tuesday, 6 January 2015.

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, I filed my anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss a meritless lawsuit challenging my right to express my OPINION that tethering ponies, butt to nose, to a metal carousel, forcing them to walk in circles on concrete for 3.5 hours is abusive.

Santa Monica Main Street farmers market animal vendors Tawni Angel and Jason Nester are suing me, while they lobby the Santa Monica City Council to reverse its decision of September 9th. The Council voted to give preference to non-animal children’s activity vendors when the contract expires in May, 2015.

Nester and Angel repeatedly argue that because market managers and animal control officers insisted there was no animal abuse, I should have remained silent in what I and 1,450 other people viewed as cruel and abusive treatment that relegates animals to mere subjects over which humans have complete dominion. If the Plaintiffs’ denial of First Amendment rights was applied to historical events and our citizenry not allowed to challenge the word of a person with a title or uniform, we would never have outlawed or ended human slavery, denial of voting rights to women and people of color, sweatshops, and child labor. Instead, we would be a nation of good soldiers taking orders, ignoring or abandoning our moral compass.

To ponies, to alpacas, to animals everywhere who are tightly tethered or penned, unable to turn around or seek water on their own, their freedom severely restricted, I am fighting back — and not just for them or for me but for protesters everywhere who under the First Amendment have the right to speak out, to assemble, and to petition their government for redress of grievances.

California law protects against what are called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. SLAPPs are lawsuits filed to silence protesters by burdening them with the costs and stress of a lawsuit. To learn more, visit the California Anti-SLAPP Project.

Many thanks to my wonderful lawyer Jim Frieden who never stops, to my loving husband Buddy Gottlieb for his endless support, to my co-defendant Danielle Charney, to the ever-supportive Suzanne Robertson and husband Barry, to Santa Monica City Council Members Ted Winterer and Gleam Davis for their leadership on this issue, to those who submitted declarations and showed up, to those who signed my Move On petition calling for an end to institutional exploitation, and to those who quietly support me/us every step of the way as they roll up their sleeves and do the hard case work in the middle of the night.

Our Anti-SLAPP hearing is scheduled in Superior Court in Santa Monica on January 9th.

Click HERE to read my Declaration submitted to the court.

CLICK HERE to read Plaintiff Tawni Angel’s Declaration.

CLICK HERE to read Marcy Winograd’s brief reply to the Plaintiff‘s opposition to Winograd’s Anti-SLAPP motion calling for dismissal of the case on First Amendment grounds.

CLICK HERE to read Marcy Winograd’s Reply Declaration to Tawni Angel.

You can sign my petition here to end animal cruelty at the Main Street Farmers Market in Santa Monica.

Marcy Winograd