Alibi V.29 No.4 • Jan 23-29, 2020 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Texas

A man is facing charges of aggravated assault after he tweeted a seizure-inducing GIF to an epileptic reporter. The Washington Post reports that author and journalist Kurt Eichenwald wrote articles in Newsweek that were critical of President Donald Trump, leading to some angry online responses from the president's supporters. But authorities say one man took it too far. In December 2016, Twitter user @jew_goldstein—identified as John Rayne Rivello—sent Eichenwald a tweet featuring a strobing GIF image that set off a violent seizure in the writer. Eichenwald reportedly would have died if his wife hadn't happened into the study shortly after the seizure began. On his computer screen, she found the tweet, which displayed a flashing red, yellow and blue geometric pattern behind the words “You deserve a seizure for your posts.” After calling for emergency responders, she answered the tweet with her own: “This is his wife. You caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault.” Last week Rivello was set to appear in a Dallas County District court to face aggravated assault charges, but the hearing was rescheduled for the end of January. Last week, the Epilepsy Foundation announced that it made sweeping criminal complaints against a large group of social media users who have been targeting people with epilepsy and sending them strobing GIFs. The organization has identified 30 instances in which it received a strobing GIF in response to tweets it had published. In a federal civil lawsuit filed against Rivello in Maryland, a judge ruled that sending a GIF counts as physical contact, as light rays do strike the eyes of viewers. Rivello is expected to plead guilty to the assault charge, setting a new legal precedent.

Dateline: Iowa

A man requested a “trial by combat” from an Iowa court to settle his divorce. According to Des Moines Register, David Ostrom has asked that his ex-wife or her attorney meet him “on the field of battle where (he) will rend their souls from their corporal bodies.” He said his ex-wife can choose to send her attorney, Matthew Hudson, into combat as her “champion.” He also requested to be given 12 weeks to forge katana and wakizashi swords prior to the battle. “To this day, trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States,” Ostrom argued in court records. Ostrom told reporters that he was frustrated with his ex-wife's divorce attorney. He claims the lawyer has been trying to ruin him through the legal system. “I think I've met Mr. Hudson's absurdity with my own absurdity,” Ostrom said. He said he got the idea when he learned of a 2016 case in which a New York Supreme Court Justice acknowledged that duels are still legal. In response to the request to do battle, Hudson filed a a resistance to the motion. “Surely (Ostrom) meant 'corporeal' bodies which Merriam Webster defines as having, consisting of, or relating to, a physical material body,” the attorney wrote. “Although (Ostrom) and potential combatant do have souls to be rended, they respectfully request that the court not order this done.” He also pointed out that potential death at the end of a katana could be construed as being too harsh a reaction in a divorce suit. Ostrom responded that trial by combat did not necessarily end in death. A combatant was allowed to “cry craven” and forfeit the duel. “Respondent and counsel have proven themselves to be cravens by refusing to answer the call to battle, thus they should lose this motion by default,” he wrote. The court has yet to rule on the motions. Ostrom told reporters that he does not know how to fight with a sword but still wants an answer from the court. He said he expects the judge to deny his request.

Dateline: United States

A deaf man is suing a number of pornographic websites for allegedly violating his rights by not offering closed captioning on all of their videos. ABC News reports that New York resident Yaroslav Suris filed a lawsuit against PornHub, RedTube and YouPorn for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the suit, Suris was unable to receive “full and equal enjoyment” from videos titled “Hot Step Aunt Babysits Disobedient Nephew,” “Sexy Cop Gets Witness To Talk” and others between October 2019 and January 2020 due to the websites' lack of closed captioning. It accuses the sites of practicing discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing individuals. In a statement to reporters, PornHub's Vice President Corey Price wrote: “While we do not generally comment on active lawsuits, we’d like to take this opportunity to point out that we do have a closed captions category.”

Dateline: Ukraine

A man's genitals were saved by doctors after his wife attached a homemade chastity device to him to retaliate against his infidelity. According to Metro, the man woke up with the device attached to his genitals, applied by his wife while he was asleep. According to reports, the device painfully “strangulated” his penis with a tightly screwed-on metal nut. The man unsuccessfully attempted to remove the device himself before calling for an ambulance. But doctors were also initially unable to remove the nut and had to call in specialists. Rescue team commander Oleksandr Brienko told reporters that the crew “used special equipment to do the job. The man was lying on the surgical operating table under anesthesia while we were cutting the object off.” A circular saw was used to slice the nut in two. The heat caused by friction had to be cooled with water and the man had to be protected from flying sparks. Eduard Nekhoroshev, a member of the rescue team, told reporters: “In this case, we actually saved the man’s penis. He will be able to become a father in the future.” Doctors said the man is expected to make a full recovery. He is reportedly considering a divorce.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.