NextEra sues activist for use of “offending logo” and video

Esther Wrightman, seen here protesting during the recent visit of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to Sarnia, is being sued by NextEra Energy for altering its logo in the her fight against the company's projects in Lambton and Middlesex Counties.

Esther Wrightman, (right) seen here protesting during the recent visit of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to Sarnia, is being sued by NextEra Energy for altering its logo in the her fight against the company’s projects in Lambton and Middlesex Counties.

NextEra Energy has made good on its threat to sue a local anti-wind activist.

The company, which has several wind energy projects slated for Lambton and Middlesex Counties, is suing to stop the use of “offending logos.”

The company has filed a lawsuit in Toronto saying Esther Wrightman’s use of NextError and Next Terror on her websites Ontario Wind Resistance and the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns. Court documents say the use of the logos “is false” and is “likely to mislead the public as to the character” of NextEra.

The company takes issue with being linked to terror. “NextEra is operating in full compliance with the law…the defendant is aware or is reclessly indifferent to the fact that the term ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’ is reserved or organizations with extreme and violent criminal aims,” the lawsuit says adding the terms are usually linked to organizations such as Al-Qaida and Hezbollah. “NextEra is a law-abiding organization that has consulted extensively in the defendant’s community. It has committed no acts of terror or violence.”

NextEra wants Wrightman to remove all references to NextError and Next Terror and a video showing the company cutting down an eagle’s next in Haldimand County. It’s also seeking damages saying Wrightman may have gained financially through donations to the website for various wind groups.

Wrightman, who is representing herself, says the fake logos are parody. “Things like Next Error, that’s fair comment,” she says. “That’s a name that has developed because of what has happened in our community,” Wrightman adds noting several times NextEra has tried to hold public meetings only to find they didn’t book the meeting hall they had advertised. “It connects completely with what has happened out here…its not frivolous, its true; to me it is fair comment.”

Wrightman believes the lawsuit is an effort to stop her from speaking out. “I’m sure they would like to see the Ontario Wind Resistance site down, I know they want the eagle videos down..I’m sure they would like to see me slow down and be more cautious in what I do…that I won’t feel comfortable using my freedom of speech.”

In the end, Wrightman believes that’s worth fighting for. “What are they going to take from me? They can take money or status. I don’t have money, I don’t have status. There is nothing left; I might as well fight it.

“I know a lot of people would not fight them because they are going after what I have; the only thing I have is my family and our health and they (NextEra) are going after it – and our community – and that’s something money can’t buy.”
Wrightman also disputes the suggestion she made a profit from using the logo. She says the only time she has raised money was during her appeal of an unrelated project near Watford and that appeal was dropped long before the logos in question were used. “Profit? What profit?…There is not a single thing to profit from fighting wind turbines. If it wasn’t so serious it would be really quite laughable. They’d really only have to drive up to my house to see I’m not making any profit.”

A court date for the suit has yet to be set.

– Heather Wright

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