P.S. I Hate You

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In March, Salzman contacted the Eleventh Judicial District in Star City, Arkansas, the town where Ellis lives, and spoke to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Green. "It was like talking to someone in Mayberry," Salzman says. Green told her that if she wanted to press charges against Ellis, she would have to fly to Arkansas. Instead of doing that, Salzman convinced Green to send Ellis a cease-and-desist letter. On April 11, Green wrote back, saying, "After a thorough review of various e-mails provided to me by you and by Mr. Ellis, I have determined that there is no basis for involvement by my office. The copies you faxed me today may be libelous, but that is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It may be that you need to hire an attorney to check into the matter further."

Green told Westword that Ellis, an auto mechanic whom everyone in town knows, gave him copies of his Internet correspondence with Salzman. Green said that because Ellis and Salzman had argued back and forth, it would be hard to prove that the communication was unsolicited. "If she's posting things, she's sort of inviting some kind of response," he says. "I didn't think it rose to the level of a criminal matter. I don't want to prosecute people just for saying stuff that other people don't like, and I would have had a hard time making a harassment case out of it."

Salzman, however, says that she and Ellis never debated the Holocaust at alt.revisionism, and that the only words she exchanged with him were when she told him to stop forging her name and when she notified him that she would forward the forgeries to seark.net. She suspects that Ellis may have produced fake e-mails and alt.revisionism postings in her name to try to prove to Green that the two were engaged in an ongoing battle.

Even if he could have made a case, though, Green admits that his judicial district would be ill-equipped to handle it. "We deal with traffic tickets, boyfriends beating girlfriends and DUIs," he says. "We've never dealt with Internet problems."

On July 18, Westword contacted the only Don Ellis in the 2,000-person town of Star City. He said he didn't know of a Sara Salzman and that her situation was "kind of news to me." The following conversation ensued:

Westword: Are you the Don Ellis who used to operate The American Guardian Web site?

Ellis: There is no American Guardian Web site.

Westword: Did you used to operate a Web site called The American Guardian?

Ellis: [no reply]

Westword: Did you used to operate a Web site called HateWatch of America?

Ellis: Ummm...not to my knowledge.

Westword: Have you ever posted negative messages about Sara Salzman or anyone else to alt.revisionism?

Ellis: I haven't posted anything in three or four months.

Westword: Have you ever posted to alt.revisionism?

Ellis: I'm not sure. I'd have to check my files. She should just turn the computer off. She should just back out of the situation. I have had death threats, and I just ignore them. It's probably just someone blowing off steam.

And later:

Westword: Sara Salzman claims nasty messages have been posted about her in a news group.

Ellis: What kind of nasty messages?

Westword: Things like "Sara Salzman is a dyke. Sara Salzman is a dog-fucker."

Ellis: Well, is she? [A couple of moments of silence.] So, does she do those things?

Westword: All I can tell you is that someone has been posting messages saying she does, and she's not happy about it.

Ellis: How do you know that she doesn't do those things?

In recent weeks, the situation has escalated. Someone placed links on more than forty Web sites with messages claiming that Salzman's kids were planning to bomb an Aurora high school; placed a link on more than ninety Web sites with messages accusing Salzman of child abuse; posted messages saying that Salzman makes her daughter give men blow jobs to support the Nizkor Project; posted Salzman's father's name, office address, telephone number and e-mail address to alt.revisionism along with a threat to pay him a visit; forged Salzman's name on a threat to Mayor Wellington Webb's life that appeared on more than twenty Web sites; e-mailed a death threat to President Clinton in Salzman's name; and posted a message threatening to skin Salzman alive and use her skin to make a new holster for his gun.

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Julie Jargon
Contact: Julie Jargon