Meteorologist Aaron Tuttle files Lawsuit against The Lost Ogle. Part 1

Who is “The Lost Ogle”?

The Lost Ogle is a local website and blog which focuses its coverage on area people, events and controversies.  They boast of many thousands of devoted followers and daily hits and visits to their website, including many influential and prominent citizens among their readership.  Their influence and reach extends beyond a simple web page.  Rather, they have extensions of their reach through the various outlets of social media, with robust numbers of followers on Twitter and Facebook.   Although the content and style of this web publication remains consistent, occasionally they will happen upon a story provided to them by their family of informants, affectionately called “moles”, that becomes a national story.   Most recently, they published aerial photos of a ‘squatter’ at the Governor’s mansion, when they published picture of the Christina Fallin, the seemingly ‘impestuous’ daughter of Governor Mary Fallin, illegally attaching her live-in travel trailer on the mansion grounds, which is State Property.     When this story escaped the bounds of the local blog, and made headlines across the local media outlets, it created an embarrassing situation for the embattled Governor, and led to the prompt removal of the trailer from the mansion grounds.

Their self-described take on journalism is a ‘satirical’ one, protected by the First Amendment, which has been their license to not only comment and report on local people of interest but to be highly-critical and somewhat mean-spirited in their approach of their subjects and targets.   That being said, blonde, female newscasters are a frequent target of their innuendo-riddled coverage.   Their name, The ‘Lost’ Ogle, appears to be derivative of what many Oklahoma City residents consider to the be the First Family of local Journalism.    The Ogle family has among its members, 3 anchors of daily newscasts in Oklahoma City.   The present Ogle generation includes reporter Abigail Ogle, a young and talented sports reporter and now AM Anchor at a local Television station, who is re-defining her family’s journalistic dynasty.   The Lost Ogle, it is said, refers, to a mythical lesser-known Ogle family-member figure, who has “lost” his way and has  a completely different take on journalism, reporting and the media.     Throughout its early period, the owners, management and writers of the Lost Ogle have remained a mystery.   At this time, they are one-in-the-same and are very much known.

Abigail Ogle, by the way, happens to be young and blonde, and is also a recurrent target in currentThe Lost Ogle stories.

The NewsOK website is reporting today that  a lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court against the The Lost Ogle, by meteorologist Aaron TuttleAaron Tuttle has formerly worked at KOCO-TV , a local  TV and news station, as an on-air meteorologist.  Most recently, he maintains a website and has developed an smart-phone based app which forecasts weather,  tracks storms and other serious weather-related phenomenon.   Such an app is particularly invaluable for the frequently severe weather that we experience in Oklahoma, including the largest Tornado that has ever touched down on earth.    At some point, the Lost Ogle became aware of Tuttle ,and began a brutal “satirical” treatment of him.    Tuttle, a known fitness enthusiast, began appearing in the pages of the web publication, associated with less-than-flattering commentary and critique.    It appears that the images they used in the publication were taken without his permission, and perhaps the context of those images have been distorted.   NewsOk reports that Tuttle claims that the images from his personal Facebook pages were “illegally obtained” and were essentially designed to “maliciously embarrass and defame” him.  As a result, he has suffered  “economic injury” in exposing Tuttle to “public hatred, contempt and ridicule”, in a way that deprives him of ‘public confidence’ and ‘injuring’ him in his occupation.

During The Lost Ogle’s campaign of “satire” against Aaron Tuttle, he gave them a stern warning.   I figured that he would make good on his admonishment to them.   And, on Friday, through a court filing, he did.

The Lost Ogle mentions on it web log today that they are being sued by Tuttle, in the characteristic “brush-off” manner that is in-line with their fearless bravado and stoic persona.    They also reference that the attorney that Mr. Tuttle has retained in the lawsuit, was the one that I used to sue them a few years ago.   He is Terry Pierce of Pierce Law Firm of Norman.   His reputation is for the very aggressive representation of his clients.

Yes, I too filed a lawsuit against the Lost Ogle.  It was their first.  The issues in that case and the current one were similar.    I learned a good lesson from the experience.   Apparently, they did not.

I became aware of the Lost Ogle, if I remember correctly, through a story they reported that got national “legs”.   They were referenced by an article I was reading on the Daily Kos, a progressively-leaning political blog which analyzes elections,  which back-linked to their original report.   I did not faithfully follow them when I became aware of them, but I remember thinking that what a ‘fresh idea’ they were for a place like Oklahoma, which is sternly traditional and conservative in its attitudes, values and the reporting of news stories.

At some point, however,  The Lost Ogle became aware of me.    I was not a celebrity or public figure.  I was not a blonde newscaster.   I was just a doctor and business-person who owned a medical spa that used Social Media to promote it.   The way I promoted the business was different than other competitors in our market.   But I continued in this vein because, by engaging people through social media and changing the perception of what a physician is or should be, brought in new clients to our medical spa business.   By the time the business ended, we had as clients women who became 1st Runner-up at Miss America, 1st Runner-up at Miss USA, back-to-back winners at Mrs. America competition,  A Miss America Outstanding teen.   I had also become a contributing editorial writer for Pageantry Magazine, the pageant-industry standard.

But before I began to develop somewhat a national reputation in the Pageant industry, my reputation for Social Media acumen was recognized by the local event magazine, the Oklahoma Gazette.   Each year, the Gazette hosts a competition called the “BEST of OKC“.  During one of those years, I was nominated for “BEST of OKC Social Media“.   The nominations were submitted by readers of the magazine, and I was surprised that I ended up as one of the final 5 nominees, whom would be voted on by the entire Gazette readership.    This is apparently when and how the Lost Ogle became aware of me.   They were one of other nominees in the contest.

Shortly after the competition was announced,  The Lost Ogle began an unsolicited mini-campaign against me.  If I remember correctly, it occurred on a Friday.   It may have occurred after I congratulated them and all of the other nominees in the contest.    I felt it was an honor to be considered in that group of much better known social media personalities.   I am not sure whether they saw my congratulatory tweet or not, but some of the others did and responded graciously.

They had begun a thing called “#Unfollow Friday“, which parodies the act of “#Follow Friday“.    #Follow Friday” is a where twitter users include the hashtag to a list of followers to encourage people to follow those twitter accounts.   #UnfollowFriday was their invention to do the reverse:  To encourage their followers, to unfollow and to amplify the effort by re-tweeting the message.  As  I was new to my understanding of Twitter, this singling out of me, for no apparent reason, was concerning, hurtful and angering to me.   I felt “shame”, but I wasn’t sure what I had done to have brought it on me or why it was happening.   I had worked fairly hard to cultivate a very modest twitter following.  I used my Twitter presence to enhance my medical spa business promotion activity.  And now , a great force, with a greater reach, following and realm of influence, was trying to take it away…. for no reason.

I probably responded to the unfollow friday campaign via twitter, by expressing my displeasure with it.   I was civil, at first, and tried to take it ‘as a joke’.  I do remember , however, my number of Twitter followers decreasing sharply and immediately after their public call for people to unfollow my Twitter account.  It was clear that some of their followers were not taking their effort ‘as a joke’.     The next thing I recall is being directed by a friend to their website, concerning their nomination in the “Best of OKC”competition .  In this blog article, they mentioned each of the competitors.  In most cases, they were respectful or playfully irreverent when discussing each of them.  When they got to me, however, they posted a picture of me dressed as “Li’l Kim” in an outfit the parodied her infamous dress and single-pastie she wore at a Music Awards ceremony.      They obtained the picture from my Facebook page, where the captioning of the picture was clear.  I was dressing this way to compete in my office Halloween Costume contest that I wanted to win.  I chose this because I thought it was funny, extreme, not exactly my nature, and that I would be able to easily win the contest with that.   I was correct.  I won the contest handily, and made everyone at work that day laugh.    By their posting this image without the appropriate context, The Lost Ogle deliberately encouraged people who followed them to believe that I was a cross-dresser and that that is a part of my lifestyle.   I have no problem with people who are transgender or who “cross-dress”.  It, however, is and has never been part of my identity.   The association of cross-dressing with fetish and gender-identity confusion, however, is still a source of stigmatization in our society and culture, even moreso, in a community that heralds a perception of religious commitment that rejects this type of expression.   I have no problem with this picture being shown.  I put it on Facebook myself.  However, I placed it in its appropriate context, with which I was comfortable.  They, however, did not.

When I complained to them about this on Twitter and by email through the contact mechanism on their website, I was essentially ignored.   At some point, they followed up the response, by making this same picture, the Avatar on their Twitter site.   They did so in a effort to create even more exposure and spawn even more questions and ridicule by people who do not know me and did not appreciate or understand the context of this picture and who began to question my  professional judgement and sanity.     After multiple requests for them to take it down, they refused. And it remained up on their twitter account for 2 or 3 days.

In my last heated exchanges with them about this, like Aaron Tuttle,  I warned them that I would seek counsel about this matter.  That threat of legal action did not seem to phase them.    After some careful thinking and risk-vs-benefit analysis, I called an attorney about it and discussed the case with him.  He agreed to do some research on the issue and subsequently agreed to take the case.    And within a few weeks, he filed a lawsuit against The Lost Ogle on my behalf.

The main problem we had was “who were they?”.    The people behind the Lost Ogle were a mystery.   At the time, the had no identifying information on their website.   No one that I knew knew the identities behind the mask.  A friend of mine who had worked as a videographer at one of the news stations suggested that one of the news reporters at their station, a blonde female,  who had been their ‘target’, and had successfully gotten them to take down a video which she felt cast her in a bad and inappropriate light.   The friend arranged a phone contact for me with her.    In our conversation, the reporter revealed that she had been harassed by The Lost Ogle for ‘a long time’, and feared that when should looked for another on-air media job in a different market they may find this video and their related mean-spirited satire.  SHe worried that this could possibly interfere with her ability to be hired.   She did say she reported the issue to YouTube, and nothing really happened.     but she said The Lost Ogle did take down the video.  She also said she never did find the identities of the individuals behind the publication.

With that said,  after my attorney’s research was concluded, he filed the suit against “The Lost Ogle” and John Doe’s 1,2 & 3, representing the mysterious personas behind the publication.   The lawyer informed the Lost Ogle of the filing via their email.    My attorney then received a call from an attorney who claimed that he would be representing them.  This attorney, who was a partner of the law firm which advertised on their website, in what appeared to be an exchange of services type of relationship, refused to identify his clients by their name.     With the pressure of the response looming to the suit, I received a direct email from “Patrick” asking if there was any way we could work this out.    This occurred after the “attorney” representing them did not return any follow-up calls from my attorney, suggesting that he was not, in fact, prepared or willing to represent The Lost Ogle.    As they may have learned, defending your rights and position can cost you a lot of money…. and more money that you have.

To be continued.


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