I was at the Grapevine offices on Friday when someone called with an urgent matter. The person asked to speak to the editor, who was not in at the time, or someone else “in authority”, such as the publisher, who was also out of the office. I said I would be happy to take a message.
It turned out I was speaking to Supreme Court Attorney Dögg Pálsdóttir, whose client, she said, had complaints about a certain Grapevine writer who Dögg maintained was committing slander (or rather a writer she thought probably was going to write something slanderous).
She explained that the writer, who is Íris Erlingsdóttir by the way, had linked to her blog on Eyjan.is a DV article regarding a bank officer who had close ties to a company whose $3.5 million loan Íslandsbanki allegedly had written off, and although the DV article had been amended, she had not made those corrections in her blog. Okay, fine. So, what does this have to do with the Grapevine?
Well, she explained that Íris’s sister was married to this particular client, and that client is now the live-in partner of the bank official mentioned in the DV article. Íris, she maintained, had “threatened” her client during the divorce, and she has now been asking questions of Íslandsbanki about the client’s girlfriend. That’s pretty vague, but I have no intention of muddling myself in that matter, of which I know nothing.
The thing is, Dögg then said, given these circumstances, she believes that Íris will write something on the matter, and she said “we’re sure that nothing she says will be true if she writes anything at all.” (By the way, isn’t it slanderous to call someone’s employer informing them that nothing one of their writers writes can possibly be true?) She said it’s best that we are aware of this so that we can avoid a situation necessitating legal action.
Now, I don’t know what you all think about this, but I think this is disconcerting. Even if— and I have no idea if this is the case—the client and his attorney are correct, it’s a scary thing when the media are silenced to avoid legal threats made by a big time attorney. Were situations like this one not problematic before Iceland’s October 2008 crash? Just a thought.