After the SoCal-based hiking blog published an article last month linking French street artist André Saraiva (a.k.a, Mr. André) to graffiti in Joshua Tree National Park, Saraiva’s lawyer sent Modern Hiker a legal notice demanding that the post be taken down.
In the letter, Saraiva’s lawyer says that Modern Hiker is publishing “detrimental messages” about Saraiva, and inciting Internet users to “claim against” Saraiva and harass him.
Further more, the letter says Saraiva is being “address oppressively” because of Modern Hikers article.
Through his lawyer, Modern Hiker publisher Casey Schreiner sent a rebuttal, saying that in the United States Saraiva bears the burden for proving the article was false in any way, and that he hasn’t done so.
In fact, the rebuttal notes, the letter from Saraiva actually acknowledges that he painted on on a boulder in Joshua Tree — he says he used a water based paint and that he went back and removed the graffiti later.
On a post on his site about the exchange, Shreiner writes that Modern Hiker “has no intention of removing our original story. We believe the reporting is solid and the facts speak for themselves.”
“We feel very strongly about the issue of graffiti and vandalism in our natural spaces, whether they be in National Parks or neighborhood green spaces,” he writes. “While we understand you likely share many of our feelings and frustrations about these issues in general and in this instance in particular, this case’s outcome now rests in the capable hands of our National Park Service investigators.”
If the Park Service does choose to pursue some action against Saraiva, his letter could conceivable be used as evidence. We’re wondering if he’ll be sending one to Huffington Post as well, which covered the story.
One thing is clear, he and his lawyers clearly don’t understand how the Internet works. Sending that letter is like throwing another log on a fire, it’s just going to keep burning.