back to article YouTube 'poisoned baby food' hoaxer pleads guilty

A New York man on Thursday admitted he repeatedly posted videos of himself on YouTube claiming he caused millions of jars of baby food to be poisoned. Anton Dunn, calling himself "Trashman," posted a video of himself on in April claiming to have "disciples" working for the company who spiked Gerber baby food with cyanide and …

COMMENTS

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  1. hikaricore
    Boffin

    So....

    I guess this is where we draw the line of free speech?

    The Internet is so screwed.

  2. Lottie

    @ hikaricore

    I think there's a big difference between protecting "free speech" and causing fear and panic.

    Essentially, this guy essentially said "If your child has eaten this food, it'll die".

    There's a law in this country and I assume in the US too that covers causing fear, which is what this guy did on a large scale.

    Financial loss for the company would be an issue too. I suspect that there will still be some stigma in panicky parents minds that connects the company with "poisoned foods" which could lead to losses.

  3. Alastair

    @hikaricore

    Are you suggesting that he should have gotten away with it?!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @hikaricore

    You consider some moron claiming to have poisoned a widely distrubuted food free speach?

    So would you be will to tell us your name, phone number, email and physical address. I was thinking of making viceo claiming someone is child molester. It'll be hilarious. If you have a apicture or some video of yourself and where you live it'll make the video even funnier.

  5. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    @hikaricore

    I for one am quite happy with the line being drawn here. If someone made anonymous threats to life of your beloved, how would feel about his "right to free speach" ? The kind of media used is not relevant here at all.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Hikaricore

    This isn't a free speech issue; free speech isn't the right to say things that will cause panic, for example shouting fire in a packed cinema isn't free speech, that would be being an arse.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    This fake baby food poisoner

    gives a bad name to all baby food poisoners out there. Lock him up!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What a scumbag

    Asshole.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    re: Screwed

    I'm all for free speech - in fact I'm vehemently against censorship - but when idiots like this go around trying to incite fear and such, that's very different. He got what he deserved.

    I should have the right to speak freely, including bashing the current leaders if I so desire - but if I say I'm going to kill the current leader, that's clearly crossing a line. So it is with claiming to have poisoned food.

    Disclaimer: I'm not planning to kill anyone. Please don't come and bash in my door, FSB/ФСБ!

  10. Skinny

    Fire?

    @ hikaricore - It's just the same as shouting fire in a public place, which is already outside of free speech laws I think.

    Speaking as a dad, I'm glad this is an offense, you have to trust that the food your buying your child is safe, and things like this which threaten to harm your child are not, and should not be condoned.

  11. Craig

    Yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre...

    ...that's not legal. or ethical. or a way to express yourself in a fresh artistic manner. It's dangerous. No pity for him.

  12. jacob
    Flame

    free speech or not

    That guy is a dumbass.

    Is he a disgruntled former Gerber employee or just a random idiot?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Not free speech...

    Unless Dunn's "speech" has a purpose or merit other than to harm Gerber. He certainly caused harm to millions of parents.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @hikaricore: Indeed this is beyond the line

    Like yelling fire in a crowded theater, his actions are not okay by any means. I say good job he was nicked.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cult of the Amateur

    When you gave every psycho, bigot, and zealot in the world a soapbox and a microphone, what did you expect? Harmony? We are our own worst enemy, the internet didn't change that.

  16. John Dougald McCallum
    Thumb Down

    @so

    There is free speach and the making of threats against a Co or individuals,afterall who is to say that the next You Tube video would not be one that demanded $x million?

  17. Gareth

    re:So....

    I think this is where we've drawn the line of free speech for quite some time. Whether it's youtube, telegraph or standing in a crowded theatre, makes no difference.

  18. Nate
    Stop

    @hikaricore

    You need to understand "freedom of speech" better -- there *are* limitations to it. Specifically when it comes to someone harming lives, liberty, or property of others (per Supreme Court Ruling).

    IMO, the charge of "threats in interstate commerce" is very applicable. He should get in trouble for it.

    Now, go do your homework, and don't make silly assumptions about the Constitution and it's Amendments.

  19. Jeff

    @hikaricore

    My thoughts exactly. Although threats have always been handled a little differently, mosty depending on who you have threatened. But I believe this would be the first

  20. Scott Holland
    Thumb Down

    @So....

    I assume that you are saying that what this guy did should be considered free speech, and there should be no consequence for him.

    If so, then, yes. This is exactly where the free speech line is drawn. This is an almost perfect example of the "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" scenario. It's like calling in a bomb threat, and using "But there was no bomb" as your defense. The fact that he used the net as his medium is irrelevant.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "Fire" in a crowded theatre, has been yelled.

    for those "free speech" folks who fear censorship, just imagine if it had been threats against your favorite coddled minority. You'll have no problem demanding this guy's nuts be nailed to a wall and an "Internet Czar' appointed by Obama to "keep the internet safe".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What line?

    The prick did something stupid, dangerous, and illegal. Twenty years ago he'd have done it via anonymous phone calls, now he did it (much more efficiently) via YouTube, caused a lot more trouble, but also got himself caught rather nicely because of it.

    Job done - throw away the key.

  23. Wize

    @hikaricore

    The line drawn where someone tried to incite a panic, plus causing loss of money and (especially with the current economic climate) possibly causing a company to fold. I'm happy with that line.

    I thought free speech allowed someone to get their point across. What point was he making?

    Hang 'em high, I say.

  24. Svantevid
    Thumb Down

    @ hikaricore

    I believe it's been drawn by judge Oliver Wendell Holmes:

    "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic"

    In my own words - as a parent of a child who until recently ate baby food - hang the bastard.

  25. Gavin Berry
    Happy

    I call troll on Hikaricore

    No one would see this as an attack on free speech, I call TROLL!!

  26. alan

    Yes it is

    Just like you arent allowed to phone in fake bomb alerts to the police

  27. g00p
    Coat

    @ hikaricore

    I'm all for free speach, neutrality & all that jazz, I'd say I'm quite a hardcore advocate of such things..

    But can't you agree that joking about killing babies isn't really a laughing matter? Free speach or not - to cause so much upset and panic to new parents is not worth the advocacy of neutrality supporters.

    Fair play, the sentence perhaps a little steep - but had you come across such threats after bringing a baby into the world wouldn't you be a little less lenient?

    ..mines the jacket coz I'm not staying here to watch people shun a "joke" that makes loving parents panic over their kids safety.

  28. Rob
    Stop

    Confused...

    .... shouldn't he be tried for Terrorism, or is it cause he's white and christian that he gets away with it.

    Gotta love the double standards governments use.

  29. DavCrav Silver badge

    @Hikaricore

    This is fairly similar to shouting 'fire!' in a crowded theatre. If you did this is real life, you wouldn't expect it to go down very well. What makes you think the Internet should be any different?

  30. Simon C

    Even Free Speech has limits

    Provided said free speech does not cause confusion or panic or damage to property, person or businesses.

    I am all for free speech, but these idiots go one step too far. It may have impacted sales of a product, cause undue worry, stress to numerous parents.

    Why all because somebody thought it would be humourous to do such a thing - without any form of disclaimer or idea that it was a hoax.

    No I'm sorry, but free speech needs to have some restrictions and this buddy just crossed my acceptable line.

  31. Naich
    Paris Hilton

    Not the sharpest hammer at the picnic

    I'm not sure why he bothered with the mask, given that he used his own PC and email address to post the videos.

  32. David Cherry

    @hikaricore

    No, its like shouting Fire in a theatre, which dispite a claim of free speach is illealge

  33. Trygve Henriksen

    That's NOT free speech...

    Threats are NEVER 'free speech'.

    And if it's a sick joke, then it's time to send him to a place where the nice doctors can keep an eye for him for a few years...

  34. g e

    Hahaha

    What a twat

    His crime was stupidity, not exercising free speech

  35. Christopher Martin

    @hikaricore

    Law enforcement has always tried to catch people who do illegal things, even if it happens on the Interwebs. I'd say this is pretty straightforward illegal, so we're right to track him down. This isn't the sort of stuff that dooms the Internet.

  36. Doug Southworth
    Thumb Down

    @ hikaricore

    So you are saying this sort of thing should be allowed and protected under free speech? Grow up.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What an idiot

    Throw away the key!

    Yeah, I know you can track my IP address, despite the AC but this guy is an idiot!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: hikaricore

    Well, the line is already drawn at yelling "Fire!" in a crowded public place (mall, movie theater, etc), libel, slander, and hate speech. Why wouldn't one consider this just another example of drawing the line? Just because it's on the Internet and not in print/radio/television/in person?

  39. Ron Luther

    @So....

    You might want to reconsider your icon. Perhaps after you become better informed about what constitutes free speech?

    Defamation and slander is not protected under free speech.

    Prosecutors might also make a decent case for 'imminent lawless action', which is also not protected under free speech.

    This guy is a tool. He deserves to be fined and to do time.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FREE SPEECH

    The guy WAS accorded "free speech".

    That is why he was able to say his piece.

    Now he is paying the consequences...we are free to speak our minds, we are not free to absolve ourselves of the consequences.

    Shout fire in the theatre....that is fine. Just don't be surprised if the consequence of doing so is to get ejected from the premises.

    He got to say his piece & now he is being pilloried for the effects he had on the Gerber company. If he hadn't specifically targeted that company he would not have been arrested. Seems to me that there are a lot of people on here that don't understand that you either protect free speech or you don't. There is no concept of some speech is protected & some isn't.

  41. Peyton
    Happy

    @Gavin

    Kudos for trying to get the troll ignored and prevent the comments from getting derailed - it was a valiant, if futile, effort.

  42. Jim
    Happy

    How many fish caught?

    By the article, ably assisted by comment #1

    Gotta love those pulling out the "speaking as a parent..." card

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO5dD0DjW0I

  43. GF
    Thumb Down

    Free Speech? Sure thing...

    This was "crying wolf" with implications of causing panic to the masses. It was stupid, irresponsible, and shows that he was a liar. The person is more than welcomed to make any speech he wishes, but he just needs to understand that there are consequences to his actions.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, there is such a thing as

    negative advertising.

    It is defamation really, that is all, I couldn't give two hoots that it involves baby food, it could be a claim that a certain make of machine guns backfire due to claims of tampering for all that it matters.

    Free speech does mean without repercussion, but it does sort of keep itself to saying the truth, so if there is a fire in a theatre what should you do, well claim fire is the obvious one.

    If the truth is subjective, then free speech still applies, but if you are making a claim designed to harm another that is not true, then there are repercussions. But, if you cannot speak the truth that is anti free speech, it has nothing to do with responsibility it has to do with truth.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ g00p. That has GOT to be a joke post.

    "I'm all for free speach, neutrality & all that jazz, I'd say I'm quite a hardcore advocate of such things.."

    I dont get this joke/the point.

    "But can't you agree that joking about killing babies isn't really a laughing matter? "

    Yes you can. Dead baby jokes are not exempt. Not by a mile. They are kind of the whole point.

    "Free speach or not - to cause so much upset and panic to new parents is not worth the advocacy of neutrality supporters."

    errr..

    "Fair play, the sentence perhaps a little steep - but had you come across such threats after bringing a baby into the world wouldn't you be a little less lenient?"

    No. And who cares. That's called EMOTION and it DISTORTS things.

    If you are for real, please stop thinking you are/ pretending to be open minded. You are not.

    ps- shouting fire in a theatre is not technically illegal. If you genuinely thought there was a fire but there wasn't..you would not be charged for announcing it. It's the purposely alarming, disruption to services that needs to be prevented. It's not as if hearing the phrase would frighten the life out of anyone. It's just annoying. IMO it should be allowed. Barely anyone would do it, and those who did would be ignored, scoffed at then thrown out. OR they are people who are stupid enough to do it just now so the laws don't matter.

    Free speech is irrelevant. This guy used a specific brand name. That is clearly illegal and clearly a problem. You can not use brand names without permission, and you cannot purposely spread malicious rumours to (presumably?) harm a business' sales, especially when it's completely made up. (as opposed to say, a rant about bad service at a restaurant)

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