“these things” which Mark Brewer says I must stop doing

On Friday I reviewed the pages Mark Brewer wants me to take down and invited him to explain exactly what he found offensive about those pages. As yet, I haven’t seen any response from him; early in the day, I suppose: only 24 hours later. How long did he give Dave and myself to respond when I was on holiday?

But I’ve heard a rumour that his brother and co-owner of the shops, Philip, is here in the UK: if you see him, perhaps you’d be kind enough to pass on the invitation to respond, please? Unfortunately, as you’ll see, Mark gave me very clear instructions not to contact him so I’m can’t do that directly myself. Mark, let me say this as clearly as I possibly can: I would consider it an honour and a privilege to comply with that part of your request. Sorry, demand. But how are we to get this sorted if you prohibit contact?

Here, then, is the opening text of Mark’s first (yes, there are more) C&D message to me, specifying the things I must cease doing. Since I haven’t actually been doing the things he describes, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to stop doing them, but I’ll look at that more closely further on. Emphasis throughout is his own.


 

From:   Brewer@bplaw.com
Subject: Demand to Cease and Desist
Date: 21 July 2008 18:04:17 BDT
To:   Phil Groom, Clem Jackson

Sirs:

I just visited your site dedicated to the destruction of my personal reputation and that of Saint Stephen the Great/Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.  I am absolutely appalled and devastated by what you have written as well as by what you have encouraged and allowed to be posted on your various sites – especially after your last written communication to me, below which ended “Assuring you of my prayers.” 

You have successfully blocked my efforts to get my and SSG’s side of the story out.  You have done this with your sites and Mr. Walker’s with whom you obviously collaborate.  No matter what I say or do not say, the three of you continue your relentless attacks on me and the charities.  You have now broadened your attacks to include my wife, my daughter and my religion.  You will obviously stop at nothing.  You must, therefore, be stopped.

When I do not respond to your vile and defamatory words, you pretend that you are such an important person that ‘how dare anyone not answer you.’  When I do respond, you hold me up to even greater ridicule and invite others to do the same.  I am dumfounded that any Christian ethos purportedly allows one to do that.

You now are doing your best to interfere with the Charitable Trust’s efforts to salvage what remains of the business of the bookshops, scornfully mocking these efforts at every turn. 

This is not right and you have gone way too far.

Your statements are false and I categorically deny them – both for me, my family and SSG/SSGCT.  Nearly all of them are defamatory per se.

I therefore am going to say this as clearly as I can:  I am a private individual and I value my privacy.  I am not a public figure such that you have the right to drag my name and my family’s names through the mire.  I do not consent to you contacting me about your alleged enquiries.  I do not consent and object to you maintaining websites about me, SSG, SSGCT, ENC Management, my brother, my wife, or my daughter.  I do not consent to you posting blogs on the internet.  I do not consent to you defaming me to any other party or person by “sharing” your false allegations. 

[Editor’s Note: remainder of this message posted yesterday under the heading Legal Demands. After this he cites our previous correspondence, which is online here.]


 

Let’s go through this paragraph by paragraph:

I just visited your site dedicated to the destruction of my personal reputation and that of Saint Stephen the Great/Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.  I am absolutely appalled and devastated by what you have written as well as by what you have encouraged and allowed to be posted on your various sites – especially after your last written communication to me, below which ended “Assuring you of my prayers.” 

Mark, I do not run any sites “dedicated to the destruction of [your] personal reputation and that of Saint Stephen the Great/Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.” I do run a couple of sites dedicated to promoting Christian bookshops, alongside this one to offer support to the ex-SPCK booksellers whose livelihoods have been wrecked by this fiasco, and to provide a space for news, notes and info along with related discussions. Exactly which parts of this are you “absolutely appalled and devastated” by, please? As for me, I am appalled and devastated by what has become of the SPCK bookshops since they fell under your ownership. I will, of course, continue to pray for you.

You have successfully blocked my efforts to get my and SSG’s side of the story out.  You have done this with your sites and Mr. Walker’s with whom you obviously collaborate.  No matter what I say or do not say, the three of you continue your relentless attacks on me and the charities.  You have now broadened your attacks to include my wife, my daughter and my religion.  You will obviously stop at nothing.  You must, therefore, be stopped.

On the contrary, Mark, as our previous correspondence clearly shows, I have invited your input several times, and blog comments have been open at all times (even when they were put on moderation whilst I was on holiday, commenting was not closed). I have not “collaborated” with Dave Walker, as you put it: we run our blogs and sites entirely independently of one another. Nor have I made “relentless attacks on [you] and the charities”. On the contrary, I believe that everything I’ve posted falls under the perfectly legitimate area of factual reporting and fair comment. Some of it has been critical and could, I guess, be misconstrued. But I have certainly not attacked your wife, your daughter or your religion: please clarify exactly what you mean by this allegation.

When I do not respond to your vile and defamatory words, you pretend that you are such an important person that ‘how dare anyone not answer you.’  When I do respond, you hold me up to even greater ridicule and invite others to do the same.  I am dumfounded that any Christian ethos purportedly allows one to do that.

“Vile and defamatory words”? Please identify the exact words you’re referring to, Mark. I’ve never claimed any great importance either, but yes, if I had done so it would be a pretence: I think I know my place.

Nor have I held you up to ridicule or invited others to do so. Please identify where you feel that I have done this and I’ll gladly revisit those pages. But in any case, since when has laughter been a crime? Are you going to respond to Father David Heron’s invitation to send him a ‘Cease and Desist’ message? Will you send one to the Revd Dr Christian Troll? Or MadPriest, perhaps? I confess that I’d love to see their responses, but they don’t need any encouragement from me. Without laughter we are left with despair and there’s been far too much of that already.

On that note, Mark, are you aware that in bludgeoning Dave Walker into removing his ‘Save the SPCK’ pages you have done away with an entire page of tributes to a much loved man, Steve Jeynes? That was a tragedy. This action of yours turns it into an atrocity. If I was “incandescent with rage” before I am now positively apoplectic! 

You now are doing your best to interfere with the Charitable Trust’s efforts to salvage what remains of the business of the bookshops, scornfully mocking these efforts at every turn. 

This is not right and you have gone way too far.

Your statements are false and I categorically deny them – both for me, my family and SSG/SSGCT.  Nearly all of them are defamatory per se.

My impression was that you’d filed for bankruptcy, Mark, and peremptorily dismissed most of your staff. I have to confess that I didn’t recognise that as a strategy to “salvage what remains of the business”… why didn’t you tell us that’s what you were trying to do? I think most people got the impression you were asset-stripping or something similar.

Oh yes, I did call for a boycott, not that it achieved anything: I think most customers had already given up by then anyway. Way too far, Mark? I don’t think it was anything like far enough, on reflection. I remember your comment at the time: “What a great idea! Boycott! How very Christian of you.” Indeed so. To me, the word “Christian” refers to following Jesus: doing things like driving disreputable merchants out of the temple, for instance… but let’s not go down that road right now, hey? Instead, please tell me which of my statements you regard as false and defamatory so that I can reassess them if necessary.

I therefore am going to say this as clearly as I can:  I am a private individual and I value my privacy.  I am not a public figure such that you have the right to drag my name and my family’s names through the mire.  I do not consent to you contacting me about your alleged enquiries.  I do not consent and object to you maintaining websites about me, SSG, SSGCT, ENC Management, my brother, my wife, or my daughter.  I do not consent to you posting blogs on the internet.  I do not consent to you defaming me to any other party or person by “sharing” your false allegations. 

You say that you’re a private person, Mark: are you, perhaps, being a tad disingenuous with that claim?

You do not consent to me contacting you? That does make holding a conversation difficult. And please don’t worry, I have no interest in maintaining websites about you, your brother, your wife or daughter. I’d really rather not have to maintain this one: I honestly wish, with all my heart, that a site such as this wasn’t necessary. And I’m very sorry: I didn’t realise that I needed your consent to post blogs on the internet…

Finally, for now, please note that I’m not interested in defaming you or in making “false allegations”. I am interested in finding the truth, however, and that forces me to ask why you wanted Dave Walker’s ‘Save the SPCK’ pages taken down? Was there something there that you wanted hidden? Why did you demand that Sam Norton take down those he reposted? Why do you want the pages referred to in my previous posts taken down? The reasons you’ve given don’t really seem bear scrutiny, do they?

I’ve looked at Dave’s pages — they can be downloaded as a pdf from the Wardman Wire — and I can’t see anything defamatory or libellous there.

Back to you now, Mark: I’m looking forward to your response.

Thank you.

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24 responses to ““these things” which Mark Brewer says I must stop doing

  1. Pingback: SPCK/SSG J. Mark Brewster and Brit bloggers at Bene Diction Blogs On

  2. Is it okay to call the World’s Greatest Bible Teacher – “The Troll”? Looks like Mark Brewer doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Mark Brewer is usually good at answering e-mails.

  3. It is interesting that the ‘Dave Walker’ pages also record a number Mark Brewer’s statements and responses – including some public appearances and apparently statements to press.

  4. I’ve read the Troll’s blog and I’m angry. You have “the gall to be raising funds to support those whom Mark’s management skills have left unemployed.” I’m incandescent with rage.

  5. On following some of the links, we were this morning unable to access Wardman Wire, Sam Norton’s site, MadPriest, Ministry of Truth and Fr. David Heron…

  6. for interest, whilst Wardman Wire is down this mornings Dave Walker Daily has been posted at
    http://davidkeen.blogspot.com/2008/08/dave-walker-daily-saturday-2nd-august.html

  7. Methinks we will have to make back ups. Too many are down.

  8. And I thought it was just my cranky old computer that wouldn’t let me into these sites…

  9. … after posting the last message I switched to Firefox and all was accessible.

  10. Cranmer is down too, and he’s had nothing to do with SPCK, so I’m pretty sure it’s nothing dodgy. Unless MB thinks that Phil runs that one too…

  11. It’s a shame that Cranmer hasn’t picked up on this – he has more clout than most Christian blogs.

  12. An open letter to Mark Brewer:

    Dear Mr Brewer,
    This is neither to be defamatory nor vile. I must simply remind you that in February of this year you failed to attend a meeting that you arranged with my wife, among others. You did not attempt to contact her or any of the other participants instead you chose to be in Cambridge and on the television. I spoke to you at the Cambridge shop to acertain your presence there.
    How can you complain of the vile and defamatory language, which I confess I have failed to spot, when your own rudeness is so noticeable and hurtful. I hope to meet you again at my wife’s tribunal hearing and, of course, I continue to pray for you and the booksellers who once so faithfully served the Lord through their commitment to their customers.
    Yours in Christ,
    Eric

  13. Mr Brewer’s email address is posted on his own website, along with an online form and an invitation to send “any questions or comments you may have”.

    His email address is also available courtesy of MadPriest. Since Mr Brewer has said that he doesn’t want me to contact him, and that’s the one thing in his demands that I’m truly happy to comply with, perhaps someone else would like to forward Eric’s message to him please?

    When you write, remember to point out that Eric has written an Open Letter: it deserves an open response which Mr Brewer is very welcome to post here.

    If you’re concerned that Mr Brewer might put a confidentiality notice on his reply in an attempt to prevent you from sharing it here, feel free to cite this site’s terms of use in your correspondence.

    Thank you.

  14. Pauline Edwards

    Another open letter to Mr Brewer.
    Mr Brewer,
    Could you tell me please, why you told a fellow worker, that there job was safe, and it was o.k. to take there first mortgage out to buy a house. The fellow worker trusted you, after asking you a few times. That fellow worker has took the biggest debt ever, on your assurance, and was only in there new home 2 days, when they were sacked by email, and left this person with no wages to pay there first mortage payment.
    Does this ring a bell Mr Brewer?

  15. Pingback: Sunday Sermon « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  16. Mr. Brewer ought to study the long history of Scientology and the Internet. Basically, this organization, very well known for its litigiousness, tried to hound its detractors off the Internet. Nearly 15 years later, the secrets of Scientology are all over the Internet and Xenu, the intergalactic tyrant of Scientology’s secret Operating Thetan III, is a well-known figure.

    Basically, the Scientologists failed to shut up the Internet. Why does Mark Brewer think he is going to succeed where Scientology failed?

    (In short, there are people watching who have no dog in this hunt except that we do not like the idea that some person is trying to use the legal system to suppress free discussion. Keep it up, Mr. Brewer, and you may find more than just your known dealings plastered all over the Intertubes.)

  17. Pingback: The Dave Walker Reposts « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  18. Pingback: What Mr Mark Brewer has said in public « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  19. Pingback: Cease and Desist Letters, and a Case Study from Brewer and Pritchard P.C. (bplaw.com) | The Wardman Wire

  20. Pauline Edwards

    dear, dear, Mr Brewer, having tantrums, and throwing your dummy out the pram, this is not good for you!!! if you want to learn to make friends, the first thing you could do is pay everyone there wages, that will be a good start, then we could help you run the shops, firstly you will have to open them first, and take advice from your workers. We know what works in the UK, we live here ! now thats a Christian thing to do, is it not? will you listen to your x workers. We have worked in bookshops longer than you. Balls in your court Mr Brewer.

  21. Pingback: More Letters for J Mark Brewer « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  22. Pingback: Exigency In Specie / The Dave Walker Files

  23. Pingback: Cease and Desist: One Year On « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

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