Gun lubricant maker FireClean doubled-down on a competing narrative in a response to a dismissal request to its ongoing defamation case.
The company characterized blogger Andrew Tuohy, the defendant in the case who owns Vuurwapen Blog, as “a marketing professional and entrepreneur,” according to a motion filed this week in an Arizona federal court.
FireClean’s owners, David and Edward Sugg, paint Tuohy as a “maliciously dishonest” businessman who published falsehoods about their product in order to sell t-shirts and push business toward the company’s competitor.
Last month, Tuohy asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing his published work was an opinion based on fact and protected under first amendment rights. Two years ago, Tuohy published results of a scientific test showing FireClean’s chemical makeup comparable to cooking oil. He said he explored the concept because of a rumor started by FireClean’s competitor, George Fennell, owner of Weapon Shield.
According to FireClean’s motion, Fennell enlisted Tuohy to write “scandalous misinformation” about FireClean and its owners in order to bolster both their profits and credibility. “They joined forces to help their companies benefit from a false advertising scheme,” the motion says.
FireClean settled a separate lawsuit against Fennell, who claimed “FireClean is Crisco” without evidence on social media, out of court in March. Details about the settlement were not made public, but Fennell removed the initial defamatory video he posted online.
A Virginia federal court dismissed the initial case against Tuohy last year. That case also alleged conspiracy, but between Tuohy and another blogger who published a separate analysis of FireClean, which showed similar results. The court described the conspiracy as “logical” but “not plausible based on the facts.”
Even though Tuohy does not sell gun lubricant, FireClean argues he is still a competitor because he’s a professional writer, publishing on other websites for pay, according to FireClean’s motion. Yet, court documents in the initial case also deflate allegations that Tuohy saw financial gain because of his FireClean article, as his website lacks advertisements and he made a total of $400 selling t-shirts.