Back in April 2018, avid gaming enthusiast and high-score chaser Billy Mitchell had his Twin Galaxies world records revoked, among them his high score for arcade classic Donkey Kong. Twin Galaxies found that Mitchell had not achieved his scores using unmodified arcade machines. In September last year, Mitchell threatened to take Twin Galaxies to court for defamation. It turns out that Mitchell made good on his threat and that the defamation case has been quietly trundling along since April 2019.
The lawsuit states that Twin Galaxies' assertion of Billy Mitchell achieving his Donkey Kong scores via modified hardware is "libelous in its face". The suit says Twin Galaxies made this statement "with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for its truth". According to the suit, Mitchell did in fact achieve his Donkey Kong high score on unmodified hardware "in front of hundreds of people". Mitchell alleges that Twin Galaxies placed him in a false light and dealt with damage to his reputation and to his business. Below, you can check out the first time Mitchell addressed the Twin Galaxies allegations back in 2018.
Twin Galaxies has responded to the lawsuit by attempting to strike it. The gaming world records site claims that its alleged defamatory statements are actually protected activity since they're not being stated as outright fact. The site points to the wording of its 2018 assertions: "We now believe that they are not from an original unmodified DK arcade PCB". The motion to strike suggests that this wording means the assertions are the opinion of Twin Galaxies and not necessarily fact. Twin Galaxies says Billy Mitchell will not be able to prove his defamation claim at trial, so the complaint should be dismissed.
On July 6th, a judge is scheduled to hear Twin Galaxies' argument as to why the anti-SLAPP motion should be granted. We don't yet know if the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will have an effect on this hearing. Given the history of animosity between Mitchell and Twin Galaxies, it's unlikely that any unfavorable result towards Mitchell will convince him to stop. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.
Hat tip to ArsTechnica for spotting the lawsuit.
What do you think about the unfolding situation between Billy Mitchell and Twin Galaxies? Let us know in the comments below!