Comics can shame 'abuser'

Stanhope, Andrist win legal fight

A stand-up is set to release a video of him confronting a man he claims molested him as a child, after overturning a gagging order.

Andy Andrist and his comedian pal Doug Stanhope cornered the alleged abuser, Stephen Spleen, in a Florida hotel in November. Their lawyer says they have footage that shows 67-year-old Spleen admitting the offences,nearly 40 years ago.

However, Spleen’s legal team vigorously deny any abuse, and say they sought the injunction because ‘people shouldn't be able to say things about other people that aren't true and get away with it’.

Spleen's attorney says the release of the video would irreparably damage his client, and in court papers, claims the comics tried to obtain ‘money, possessions and/or notoriety to enhance their stand-up comedy careers by falsely accusing [Spleen] of committing disgraceful, deplorable and heinous acts.’

He won a temporary injunction – but that has now been dissolved, paving the way for the footage to be distributed.

Stanhope tweeted after the hearing: ‘Victory! We beat the injunction... Now just gotta to get footage edited.’

And Andrist posted: ‘We both made humiliating videos of each other what's the problem?’

According to the St Lucie News-Tribune, the comics’ lawyer submitted a transcript of the encounter to the Florida court, in which Spleen is said to have acknowledged having been a ‘sexual predator’ and, when asked ‘Are you sorry?’, said: ‘Yes.’

However Spleen’s lawyers say that comes from an edited tape and they want to see the original.

The abuse was said to have happened in the late Seventies, when Andrist was between 11 and 13. He has talked about the encounters as part of his stand-up routine:

Published: 8 Jan 2013

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