A Man’s “Tasty Little Balls…What a Treat!”: On RAINES v. ARISTEO, Free Speech, and Censorship

Posted on May 16, 2016


Typical of cases stemming from court injunctions, the case that occasions this post, Raines v. Aristeo, is a he-said/she-said quagmire. Not disputed is that the woman and the man had a four-month relationship in 2010. He says he ended the relationship after learning “disturbing…information” from her ex-husband about her. She says she ended the relationship because he became “strident,” “demanding,” and “threatening.” Both acknowledge they had a business relationship outside of their personal relationship. He says she owed him money and brought criminal complaints against him to get out of paying. The specifics of this matter, which has now spanned nearly six years, are painstakingly chronicled in 18 installments by Matthew Chan on Defiantly.net, in his usual objective, comprehensive, and sleekly polished style. This post instead raises some questions: Is this, as in so many similar instances, a tempest in a teapot? Has a public interest been served by a man’s serial arrest and prosecution, or has it only sated a single woman’s rancor? Should this be countenanced? And, finally, is it lawful? The only pointed observation this post makes is that a woman has been annoyed, and a man is in jail.

NOTE TO THE COURT: Facts in this post were gleaned by its author and do not originate from its subject, Bruce Aristeo, who had no influence on its composition. Commentary, likewise, is solely that of its writer.

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

In her YouTube video “Smiles for Ruger,” Internet marketing adviser Jody Raines imitates feeding a man’s “TINY, TINY, TINY” testicles to her dog.

Fellow “agitator” Matthew Chan, who introduced me to how restraining orders are used to squelch protected speech, brought this search engine return to my attention on Friday:

This notice greets the person who queries Google either about Jody Raines, a woman who describes herself as a “recognized expert with Social Media, Internet Marketing and Website Development,” or Bruce Aristeo, a former schoolteacher she has prosecuted, not for the first time, and had sentenced to three months in jail.

Bruce Aristeo, Jody Raines, Raines v. Aristeo

Bruce Aristeo

The two dated in 2010, besides having a business relationship at the same time. Beyond these details, accounts predictably differ. Beyond question, however, is that Mr. Aristeo has been jailed for expression protected by the First Amendment.

His “crime” was posting satirical videos on YouTube ABOUT Ms. Rainesand even asserting that much is subject to interpretation. The basis for Mr. Aristeo’s arrest and subsequent incarceration was his being issued something called an “indefinite temporary restraining order” (unique to Camden County, New Jersey) in 2012. This bizarre instrument (issued in a state long-known for its harsh judicial treatment of male defendants) exposes Mr. Aristeo to warrantless arrest anytime for the rest of his life.

Prior to the most recent prosecution, Ms. Raines has had Mr. Aristeo arrested multiple times and jailed for over half a year. (Whatever Ms. Raines’ talents as a marketer outside of court may be, inside of one she’s proven herself to be highly effective.)

The conflict between the two inspired a YouTube “cold war” that went preemptively nuclear in 2015. Ms. Raines’ latest prosecution concerned Mr. Aristeo’s videos. This post examines one of his and one of hers.

Among Ms. Raines’ reported passions are motorcycles and Belgian Malinois dogs. One of her personal pets is called Ruger (also the name of a gun manufacturer). Mr. Aristeo waggishly produced a video “promoting” a brand of breakfast meats called “RU Burger Farms” (RUger).

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

The vid’s “production company,” “MonkeyCom Banana Strategies,” both identifies the work as satire (which is protected speech) as well as takes a poke as Ms. Raines’ company, WebMarCom, which advertises marketing strategy advice. In the video, Mr. Aristeo (clad in a scarf and a fuchsia sweater) lustily tucks into some “Malinois sausage patties,” and his narration includes tongue-in-cheek patter like this: “I love to prepare my Malinois like the Amish do, where they put a little syrup on top after….”

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

This apparently is supposed to represent a “true threat” to either Ms. Raines or her dog, neither of whom is explicitly identified. The video wasn’t brought to Ms. Raines’ attention by Mr. Aristeo—that is, he didn’t contact her—which means to have seen it, she had to have sought it out.

Ms. Raines responded to Mr. Aristeo’s homemade flick with a satirical video of her own. It suggests she has castrated Mr. Aristeo and is feeding his testicles to her dog. It’s called, “Smiles for Ruger.”

Here’s a still from it:

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

The word troll in the frame that follows is Internet slang for a person who lurks in forums and sows discord on the Internet for self-amusement. Its application here is an ill fit, because Mr. Aristeo didn’t plant his video anyplace with the intent to provoke: Ms. Raines had to know where to look.

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

The frame below intimates that Ms. Raines’ video was inspired by Mr. Aristeo’s “picking on” Ruger (who’s an intelligent dog but doesn’t speak English) with his video.

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

Ironic is that the video documents Ms. Raines’ taunting Ruger before finally letting him devour the “TINY balls.” The video also taunts Mr. Aristeo. It doesn’t just mock his genital size and virility but concludes with Ruger’s “saying”: “Yes, they taste like CHICKEN.”

Jody Raines, WebMarCom, Raines v. Aristeo, Bruce Aristeo

Ms. Raines plainly means Mr. Aristeo is a chicken. She taunts a man whom she had already had arrested several times and jailed.

A question the court might have considered during sentencing this year, if not before that, is whether this is the act of a woman who’s “afraid.” Another question it might have considered is whether a sophisticated online spat justifies interference by the state at taxpayer expense. Finally, it might have considered whether it was constitutionally sanctioned to stick its nose in, which it wasn’t. Correcting its erroneous judgment will now require an appeal, review by further judges, and another year of Mr. Aristeo’s time.

Ms. Raines meanwhile is performing a post-trial mop-up for “image maintenance.” Her video “castration” of Mr. Aristeo remains online, however, and has not been targeted for censorship by Google.

Copyright © 2016 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

*How many tens of thousands of dollars of public funds have been chewed through to sate what is arguably one woman’s yen for vengeance is anyone’s guess. Besides the costs of the trials, arrests, and incarcerations, Mr. Aristeo was jobless and homeless while prosecuting his defense, and living on the state’s dime in government-subsidized housing (which he will assuredly have to return to while he drafts an appeal, for which the state will also have to pay). Worthy of reflection, too, is the setback to citizens’ constitutional entitlement to free speech: