Librarian sues for defamation after conservative activist attacks on LGBTQ books

Librarian sues for defamation after conservative activist attacks on LGBTQ books

A librarian in Louisiana filed a lawsuit against two men and a conservative organization, alleging they defamed her when they attacked her for supporting the teaching of books involving the LGBTQ community.

Amanda Jones, a middle school librarian and the president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, alleged in the lawsuit that a “public campaign” against her started after she spoke out against removing certain books from the Livingston Parish Library system at a board meeting.

The lawsuit states that Citizens for a New Louisiana posted on its Facebook on July 20, the day after the meeting, criticizing “anti-censorship folks” who opposed moving “sexually explicit and erotic materials targeting eight to ten-year-olds” to the adult section of libraries.

A second post from July 22 specifically refers to Jones, asking why she is “fighting so hard to keep sexually erotic and pornographic materials” in the children’s section. The lawsuit notes that a photo of Jones in the post is surrounded by a red circle with a white border, arguing it appears similar to a target.

Michael Lunsford, who leads the group, commented on the post that Jones is on the “public payroll” and is “’advocating’ for having erotica in the kids section.”

The account allegedly made several other posts throughout July and August referring to Jones and tagging her in the posts.

The lawsuit argues that the posts have damaged Jones’ reputation and incited expressions of violence against her.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ryan Thames, who runs a Facebook page called “Bayou State of Mind,” posted a meme of Jones on or around July 21, showing her smiling and sitting behind a desk and saying that she advocated teaching anal sex to 11 -year-olds.

The post was eventually taken down, which Jones believes was a result of Facebook intervening, but the post circulated on social media, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the post caused Jones to suffer anxiety and emotional distress, and Thames continued to publicly mock Jones.

Citizens for a New Louisiana, Lunsford and Thames did not immediately return requests from The Hill for comment.