…(A)nyone and everyone is a potential target on the internet, which has attracted a legion of anonymous cowboys who delight in slander and character assassination. Last month, writer and media personality Marieke Hardy fell foul of the law when she hit back at one these malefactors, accusing the wrong man, Joshua Meggitt, of writing a hate blog about her.
Hardy agreed to pay Meggitt compensation, reported to be $13,000 but believed to be considerably more. She also apologised. It was a historical reverse of the family’s famous victory in 1951 when Hardy’s late grandfather Frank, author of Power Without Glory, beat a charge of criminal libel.
While the writer of the anti-Hardy blog…is yet to be identified, the noose is tightening on such shadowy hate-mongers. Says (Stuart) Gibson, who led the Joshua Meggitt action: ”Lately these creeps have been moving into Facebook. But the laws of defamation apply equally to the online world and these days anonymous bloggers can be found. There are effective means of identifying their computers, then we can get what is called a Norwich Order obtaining identity from the online host. The role of the hosts such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook is important. We always enjoin them now (in internet defamation actions) because of their involvement and because they have deep pockets.”
…Gibson observes that anyone can become a publisher in the age of the internet. ”And a lot of these bloggers can end up with significant followers.”
”In Hardy’s case, she had 55,000 Twitter followers she directed to her blog.”
One night close to Christmas, Stone headed out to buy presents for his young son, Sylvester, whom he had with Kathy Silva, a model he married on stage at Madison Square Garden in 1974.
“I had about $2,500 to spend,” Stone recalls. “By the time I get [to the store], I had spent it all on drugs. Yes, I did. And when I getting close to little Syl’s house, I thought, ‘Oooh, man. I never should have done that.’ When I saw him, I said, ‘I spent your money up on drugs. I spend it up on dope.’ ”
Over the years, Stone has dropped tens of thousands of dollars on his other hobby: automobiles. In his early days, he drove a Jaguar XKE he painted purple. There were Hummers, a London taxi and a beloved Studebaker, which Stone asked to have painted in exchange for this interview. (The Post declined.) A few years ago, he would cruise around LA on a bright-yellow, custom three-wheel chopper. He was known to give cars to friends.
By 1980, the group’s popularity had declined enormously from its heyday. Stone appeared on an episode of “The Mike Douglas Show” and promised, “I’m going to do one more album real quick, and if it’s not instantly platinum, bye-bye.” Sly & the Family Stone’s 10th and final album, 1982’s “Ain’t But the One Way,” flopped.
Stone kept his word and mostly vanished. He was arrested a few times in the 1980s for cocaine possession and performed sporadically, but his days of sold-out shows and magazine covers were gone. A 1987 performance would prove to be his last for 19 years.
He finally reappeared during a 2006 Grammy tribute, shuffling on stage, his posture hunched and his neck bent as a result of a fall he suffered at his home. He arrived midway through a medley of his classic hits, played the keyboard and sang for a few bars, waved, then inexplicably left the stage before the song concluded.
Today, Sly is disheveled, paranoid — the FBI is after him; his enemies have hired hit men. He refuses to let The Post into his camper, but, ever the showman, poses flamboyantly with a silver military helmet and a Taser in front of his Studebaker.