The saga of Billy Mitchell, featured in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong, has added a new chapter with Mitchell filing a defamation suit against leaderboard and record site Twin Galaxies. It appears that the proceedings have been going on without much public notice for some months already. Twin Galaxies has responded with an anti-SLAPP motion, with a hearing scheduled for July 6.
This particular suit has been working through Los Angeles County courts since April 2019, roughly a year after Twin Galaxies stripped Mitchell of his record standing. Similar lawsuits have also been filed in Broward County in Florida back in February, specifically naming two moderators of a Donkey Kong forum where the first questions of Mitchell’s record appeared. YouTuber Ben Smith was also mentioned (Apollo Legend) in addition to Twin Galaxies.
Strangely, the Broward County lawsuits have not been formally presented to the parties in question, and the 120-day window mandated by Florida state law under which they may be shown will most certainly be closed by the time the July 6 hearing occurs. In a statement to Ars Technica, Mitchell has indicated he will be making a statement regarding the Broward suits after the anti-SLAPP hearing.
The following is a brief recap of the events surrounding this lawsuit. In February 2018, Twin Galaxies received a formal dispute request from user Jeremy Young, indicating that specific world record scores for Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. were potentially inaccurate. However, the original thread started back in August of 2017.
After an exhaustive investigation, Twin Galaxies made a statement in April 2018 indicating they had concluded that the scores in question could not have been obtained on an unmodified Donkey Kong PCB board, and they had removed Mitchell’s records.
Mitchell’s contention in the Los Angeles complaint is that Twin Galaxies effectively called him a cheater without actually using the word and that subsequent media coverage did not restrain themselves from doing so. Twin Galaxies is arguing that they did not call nor imply that Mitchell cheated but restricted themselves solely to the technical evidence that the scores in question could not have been obtained with the hardware configuration, which was listed.
They further contend, in filing their anti-SLAPP motion, that the courts are being used to curb future criticism potentially.