Professor John L Hennessy
Professor John L Hennessy: The director of an expensive abuse of process?
- On the orders of Professor John L Hennessy, the Chairman of Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google) the search engine continues to spend millions of dollars on legal costs on a court case that Google admitted in court that they do not think they can win. Moreover, it has indicated that if they lose the 2022 trial Google will appeal to the High Court via the Appellate Court at a very substantial cost in the form of legal fees.
- This expenditure is an abuse of process because a corporation is using its superior economic power to attempt to force one person to give up her rights. Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. Google has a long history of ‘defence by deep pocketing’ and this tactic is currently used by other corporations in Australia including the gambling lobby and a mining company.
- Furthermore, egregiously, in 2023 this expenditure coincides with the announcement by Google of mass employee layoffs amounting to 6% of the workforce.
- I commenced legal action in 2011, won a trial self-represented in 2015. But 12 years and millions of dollars in legal costs later I am again waiting for the results of a second defamation trial (heard in September and October 2022) over the publication of the same content in Australia on the first page of searches for my name: Google continued to publish this content for two years after it was found to be defamatory by a Australian Supreme Court.
- I provided evidence to the court that Professor Hennessy was notified in 2016 that if the defamatory content was not removed from the publication by Google in Australia, I would have no choice but to file a second defamation matter. In July 2022, based upon this evidence, I was given permission by the court to amend my pleadings to include Professor Hennessy (Duffy v Google LLC,  SASC 74 at 21).
- During the 2022 trial Google admitted the involvement of Professor Hennessy. The Google lawyers would not be instructed to admit his involvement without his explicit permission. Through the lawyers he refused to instruct anyone to negotiate to settle on a reasonable basis. I would not be bullied into giving up on the ridiculous terms that Google tried to force upon me. I am bound by confidentiality but I can say that my costs would not even be covered so I had no choice but to continue the trial.
- Google indicated in court that if they lose they will take this matter to the High Court of Australia. This means the matter would have to firstly go through an appellate process. The extended legal process would incur a significant economic cost to Google and substantial distress to me.
- It is clear that Google, under instruction of Professor Hennessy, intends to continue to use its economic power to force me into capitulation at a time when Google employees are losing their jobs. This is a legal abuse of process and it is cruel!
- Furthermore, Professor Hennessy is complicit in the publication of abuse and hate speech on the website Ripoff Report because in 2013 he was provided with a detailed report of the thousands of pages of abuse including misogynistic, homophobic, and racist content on that website. He was in a position to take action but he did nothing! This blog links to a few examples of the abuse but I do not want to put it all in the public domain because it is so extreme. However, Professor Hennessy was provided with examples of more than 1,000 links to this despicable content. He had the power to take action but chose to ignore it. Therefore, the only conclusion is that Professor Hennessy either sanctions hate speech or does not care.
Who is Professor John L Hennessy?
- An integral part of the Silicon Valley establishment.
- Former Chair of the Board of Google and current Chairman of Alphabet Inc.
- Former President at Stanford University (2000 – 2016).
- Current Shrirham Family Director at Knight-Hennessy Scholars, Stanford University.
- Author of a book, Leading Matters, that paradoxically, given that Hennessy ignored not only the destruction of lives and livelihoods but the spread of extreme hate speech on a website that used its Google page rank for extortion, devoted a whole chapter to empathy in leadership.
Professor John Hennessy: Knowledge of extortion, defamation and hate speech on Ripoff Report
- After my defamation case against Google became public at the end of 2011 many others who were victimised by Ripoff Report’s extortive business practices contacted me. I joined with a cyberbullying activist and we started a support movement that was designed to alert Google to the website’s Google enabled extortion and the destruction and harm that it was causing individuals and businesses.
- In 2013, after Forbes published an article that emphasised the advertising revenue earned by Ripoff Report I devised an advertising boycott. I wrote to the major ad servers and clients and pointed out that their adverts were published on the most heinous hate speech and abuse and included a report and examples of their advertisements on extreme content on the website.
- I copied all of the emails that I sent to the ad servers and their clients to Professor Hennessy and tracked them using a program, pointofmail.com and he read every one. In 2013 I naively thought that Professor Hennessy would care about the abuse, defamation and hate speech generated on that website. I was very wrong!
- In response to the advertising boycott I received an impressive response from corporations that were horrified when confronted with the hate speech on which their ads were served and they removed their ads from the Ripoff Report. By January 2014 even Google removed all advertising from the website, albeit temporarily.
- During the 2015 trial I informed the Google lawyers that I was writing to Professor Hennessy and even filed evidence that I used a tracking program for all Google emails. But it appears that they either did not believe me or did not care. So I continued to periodically email directly to to Professor Hennessy and he continued to read my emails, even when he was on his mobile phone or at locations other than Stanford University or in California.
- During the 2015 trial I wrote to Professor Hennessy and actually pleaded with him to do something to stop the trial (Google had refused to mediate prior to the trial) and again he read every email. My distress was extremely evident in the emails and in retrospect I wonder if he enjoyed the exercise of power.
- In October 2016 I wrote to Professor Hennessy notifying him that the defamatory content was still available in Australia. It was not removed and three weeks later I filed the current case.
- In total between 2013 and 2017 I sent approximately 50 emails to Professor John Hennessy and he read every one. He has been provided with copies of the emails and proof that they were read through the Google lawyers and they were tendered into the trial evidence. A sample can be downloaded from this link.