A dad whose very personal blog called The Psycho Ex Wife was ordered shut down by a family court judge is challenging that ruling, saying it violates his First Amendment rights.
In late 2007, Anthony Morelli started the blog, describing it as "the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband's new partner."
We hope that by sharing this story, we will effect change in the divorce cartel. We don’t sugarcoat issues, although we do try to protect the innocent. You will read actual e-mails, transcripts, false child abuse charges, and custody evaluations, the result of over $80,000 in legal fees (not including the psycho ex wife’s legal bills) and 4-years of litigation.
A good way for Morelli to work through his anger? Well, sure, but there's also kick-boxing, Zen and a million other ways to do it. Still, the blog was his way, and it had a title that appealed to angry ex-spouses, especially those in the middle of vitriolic child custody battles like Morelli's. The blog drew 200,000 visitors a month. Morelli even started selling advertising for it.
No words about his ex were minced there — at all — with an elaborate "cast of characters" listed on the blog, including the villainous protagonist, referred to as the "PEW" in shorthand. She was described as many things, none of them nice:
She’s on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time ... drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn’t stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.
Readers wrote in about their own "PEWs," venting their own frustrations about exes and custody battles.
Morelli, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and his wife share custody of their two sons, ages 10 and 12. He thought he'd handled things so anonymously on the blog that his ex-wife and sons would never see it. But his ex-wife did see it. It's not clear whether the boys have.
Earlier this summer, at yet another custody hearing, Family Court Judge Diane Gibbons took both parents to task for their behaviors, but ordered Morelli to close down the blog, which she said goes beyond "venting" to "outright cruelty."
"Your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public," Gibbons said, in part. "Should I put them with the man who is publicly browbeating their mother?"
Now Morelli is appealing the judge's decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, citing violation of the First Amendment, as well as the 14th Amendment, the latter because the judge ordered the blog taken down without giving him the chance to present evidence or to object.
He's hired an attorney and even has a new website where he's soliciting donations to help pay for his fight. His attorney, Kevin J. Handy, says in a press release on the site that the judge's order "is a classic example of an overly broad and unenforceable prior restraint on free speech.”
Allison Morelli told PhillyBurbs.com that she was "so relieved, this judge has finally seen what I’ve had to deal with for the past seven years," since the beginning of the divorce.
She just wants the legal battle to end, she told UPI: "What the judge said in court made perfect sense to me. Stop doing what you're doing, and do the right thing for your children."
In an interview with The TODAY Show aired Tuesday, Allison Morelli said that no matter what she has done over the years, "there's a negative spin somehow — the website spins everything."
Anthony Morelli told TODAY his main goal in having the blog was "to connect with other people who were going through similarly high-conflict divorce and custody situations."
Psychiatrist Gail Saltz said that while Morelli may win his legal case to continue the blog, the couple's children will suffer because of it.
"He may be right legally, but he’s not right, in terms of the family," she told Matt Lauer. "Because at the end of the day, when a couple gets divorced you know the fallout for children. And the only way to try to help to be the healthiest for them is to preserve two good parents, even if they don’t want to be together. But it’s your job to help say to some degree, 'Your mom’s an okay person and loves you.' "
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