Anyone who has spent any time at all observing internet culture knows that feeding the trolls is never a good idea. President Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen apparently hadn’t yet spent much time surfing the web back in 2013 when he threatened legal action against The Onion for a parody piece they published about his boss.
Letting a publication, whose sole reason for being is to ruthlessly—and often tastelessly—mock anything and anyone, know that they’ve gotten under your skin is the absolutely worst thing to do in response to this sort of parody. You will never have the last word in that kind of argument. Still, whether on his own initiative or at the direction of Donald Trump, Cohen poked the bear.
President Trump’s personal lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter in 2013 to the satirical news organization The Onion over a fake article about how the then-business mogul would likely die soon.
In a piece published Monday, The Onion revealed the contents of a letter sent to them by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
Cohen, according to the organization, sent an email following the publication of a fake commentary piece titled “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years,” satirically written by Trump.Cohen’s letter demanded that The Onion remove the piece and issue an apology to Trump.
“The article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism; even in your Onion,” Cohen wrote in January 2013.
Cohen says the “commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence.”
The Onion would probably relish the publicity they’d get by getting sued by Trump.
This is like heckling a standup comedian. Even the worst hacks in comedy have tangled with more hecklers than you have with comedians so it’s a given that you’re going to get torched. Anything you say can and will be used against you.
This is exactly what The Onion has done to Michael Cohen.
In 2013 when nobody even knew who Michael Cohen was The Onion probably thought milking the threat for comedy was worth the effort but now that he’s a household name for his involvement in fixing big Republicans’ sexual indiscretions with Playboy Playmates and porn stars, he’s a prime target. Someone at The Onion found the five year old stick Cohen gave them and decided to beat him with it. They published the full text of Cohen’s 2013 email and made Cohen a laughingstock.
Mr. Cohen, in trying to reach you, we have called both phone numbers you provided us and even sent a courier to your New York offices. After receiving no reply, we can only assume you are trying to stonewall us. We are growing concerned that you have remained silent because you have been building a rock-solid case against us for the last five years, and in fact shudder to even imagine the detailed, thorough, and likely damning charges you would bring forward. But it does not have to be this way.
Of course, making a guy like Cohen into a joke is no huge task since he seems so willing to help.