UPDATE #4 — June 22, 2012: Mark DeBow has revived his @ProfessorTanked account and is on the attack again.
UPDATE #3 — June 21, 2012: Please be advised that there is an individual who is aggressively messaging anyone who posts support toward me on Twitter. Do not be intimidated by this person who goes by the Twitter identity @terihabsfan. Her real name is Teri Woosnam. She has zero intimate knowledge of the case but tweets as if she does. While she is welcome to her opinion, her tweets are clearly meant to provoke and have no credibility other than ONLY being her personal opinion.
UPDATE #2 — June 19, 2012: Please see comments below from Spielo Gaming International and Professional Quality Assurance.
UPDATE #1 — June 19, 2012: @ProfessorTanked’s Twitter account has been closed.
On March 12, 2012, Mr. Justice Stephen J. McNally of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench issued an order from the bench to Spielo Gaming International to release the name of the anonymous online persona Professor Tanked to me.
In addition to sending me hate mail from within Spielo’s facilities, this same individual spread lies about me on Twitter using the anonymous account @ProfessorTanked. On March 14, 2012, subsequent to the court order, Spielo released the identity to me of the anonymous troll using the profile “Professor Tanked.” Click here to read the letter releasing the identity.
- The identity of @ProfessorTanked is Mark DeBow.
- To my recollection, I have never met Mr. DeBow, nor do I know him in any way whatsoever.
- Mr. DeBow’s father is prominent Moncton lawyer Richard DeBow, Q.C., of the law firm Barry Spalding. (Update: Now of Cox & Palmer, Moncton)
- Mr. DeBow’s legal counsel is Hélène Beaulieu, Q.C., of the law firm Barry Spalding. (Update: Now of Cox & Palmer, Moncton)
- To my knowledge, my only “transgression” previous to reporting him for sending me hate mail from within Spielo’s facilities was that he does not like my columns.
- Mr. DeBow is a former employee of Professional Quality Assurance (PQA) of Fredericton. Mr. DeBow worked on-site at Spielo Gaming International, one of PQA’s clients. According to correspondence I received from his lawyer dated April 25, 2012, Mr. DeBow was dismissed from PQA on March 30, 2012, because Spielo complained to PQA that I was seeking Mr. DeBow’s identity.
- On June 2, 2011, Mr. DeBow sent me anonymous hate mail while working for PQA at Spielo using Spielo’s computers. After Googling the IP address attached to the e-mail, I responded to “Professor Tanked” to stop harassing me and cc’d Spielo so that they would be aware that their computers were once again being used by Professor Tanked for unauthorized activity. (Professor Tanked had previously tried to post anonymously to my blog from Spielo and had posted a large number of negative comments below my columns on Canadaeast.com.)
- Following my June 3, 2011, request to cease harassing me, beginning on October 20, 2011, Mr. DeBow anonymously posted on Twitter lies about my reputation and professional and ethical conduct. He is unable to prove these allegations and has no evidence, yet these comments remain online. He accuses me of cyberbullying and stalking my readers. He also accuses me of e-mailing my readers’ employers to try to get them fired. These allegations are ridiculous and without a shred of merit.
- These comments concerned me so greatly that, on February 14, 2012, I requested a hearing in front of a New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench judge to force Spielo to release the name of Professor Tanked to me. They had previously refused to do so despite several requests on my part. (Previous to this, I visited the Codiac RCMP detachment on December 19, 2011, to file a harassment complaint, but they advised me that the matter was civil.)
- Mr. DeBow has threatened to confront me in public at a Rotary Club meeting. (Keep in mind that I had no — and still don’t have — a clue what he looks like.) To say the least, I felt incredibly intimidated by this and feared for my own personal safety and the safety of my fellow Rotarians. (UPDATE: I now have photos of Mark DeBow. Thank you to those who submitted them.)
- A hearing was held in front of Mr. Justice Stephen McNally on March 12, 2012, and he issued an order from the bench for Spielo to release the identity of Professor Tanked. I received the identity on March 14, 2012.
- Following the receipt of his identity, my lawyer and I prepared a letter dated April 4, 2012, demanding compensation, an apology, the removal of his account and a number of other requests from Mr. DeBow. In subsequent correspondence from Mr. DeBow’s legal counsel, it became clear that he had no intention of taking this matter seriously. A subsequent reply from me dated April 26, 2012, has been ignored. I will no longer be ignored on this issue. He’s intimidated me long enough.
- Furthermore, Ms. Beaulieu attempts to claim that his online comments are “fair comment”. Since when are anonymous online comments “fair”? How in the world could I defend myself against Mr. DeBow’s anonymous lies without going to court to force Spielo to release his identity?
- Mr. DeBow’s LinkedIn account is here.
- I have spent nearly $7,500 in legal fees to acquire this anonymous troll’s real name (Mark DeBow) and to attempt to be compensated for his anonymous false allegations.
- Spielo Gaming International has not apologized to me and, in fact, even asked Justice McNally that I pay THEIR legal costs in my successful attempt to get Professor Tanked’s identity. Justice McNally ordered both of us to pay our own court fees.
- Professional Quality Assurance has not apologized to me, offered any compensation or even reached out in any way to me following the actions of their former employee, Mark DeBow.
I am posting this in order to expose this cyberbully. He has intimidated me anonymously long enough — since early in 2011, at least, with hate mail, an attempt to post at least one hateful comment to my blog, a number of insulting anonymous comments below my columns posted to Canadaeast.com, and most recently by spreading vicious lies about me on Twitter. For some reason, he is completely obsessed with me.
Since Mr. DeBow refuses to take this matter seriously and has not responded to my latest letter of April 26, 2012, I am releasing his identity to the public.
Not only is Mr. DeBow not taking his matter seriously, his legal counsel had the sheer unmitigated audacity to state this in a letter to me dated April 25, 2012: “Mr. Cormier has destroyed Mr. DeBow’s credibility at the only two companies in Moncton who were hiring in his line of work. In our view, should this go to trial, there is potential for a substantial counterclaim for harassment of our client, interference with contractual relations and loss of future income.” Ms. Beaulieu, your attempt at intimidating me is laughable. It would surely be the first time in history that an anonymous troll sues their VICTIM for harassment because their VICTIM had to go to court to get the anonymous troll’s identity.
The only person who destroyed Mark DeBow’s reputation is Mark DeBow himself.
As a newspaper columnist, it is normal to get negative feedback. I never took legal action against any of Mr. DeBow’s comments on Canadaeast.com, nor did I take legal action against the hateful comments he attempted to post to my blog or the hate mail he sent me on June 2, 2011. However, there’s a limit. His Twitter account went too far. At some point, even a newspaper columnist — who it could be argued should have a thicker skin than most — has his limits. You can criticize, but you can’t lie. These online haters who espouse “freedom of speech” do so under the veil of anonymity. They say things they’d never sign their real names to. Freedom of speech has a consequence: the freedom to react. Mr. DeBow, today, I am fighting back and I am exposing you for the person that you are.
And one last thing: Writing anonymously as Professor Tanked, Mr. DeBow continuously refers to himself quite benignly as just another one of my readers. Mr. DeBow: You’re not one of my readers. You’re an anonymous troll who tried to destroy my reputation by spreading lies. To brand yourself as one of my “readers” is an insult to me and — more importantly — an insult to them. To brand yourself as one of my readers is like a bank robber branding himself as just another customer making a withdrawal. No, sir.
Everyone makes mistakes. I have made mistakes, too. The measure of the man, however, is how you deal with them.
In closing, I am proud to state that — today — the world has one less vicious anonymous online troll. Mark DeBow: You have been exposed.