Activist Sues Nativist Leader for Defamation – Again
San Diego Minutemen leader Jeff Schwilk is the adult equivalent of a small child who burns his finger on a stove and – learning nothing from the experience – does it again.
Last May, Schwilk was ordered to pay $135,000 to Joanne Yoon, a Korean-American civil rights activist who had helped monitor Minutemen rallies for the ACLU. Yoon sued Schwilk and a former Minutemen spokesman for defamation after the men circulated photos of her accompanied by comments referring to “the Korean anoroxic ACLU s---.” The images were posted to a Yahoo group titled “Korean Kommie Kunt.”
Today, Yoon sued the perpetually peeved Schwilk again for defamation.
In December, Schwilk allegedly sent an email to about 1,000 people with a link to a website video, stating that it showed Yoon admitting she was a “prostitute” and a “hooker.” Just one problem, says Yoon’s attorney, Daniel Gilleon: That’s not Yoon in the video. Yoon’s new suit also names the San Diego Minutemen and 50 people as yet unidentified who allegedly aided and abetted in defaming her. She is asking for compensatory damages of 10 times the sum she was awarded last year, or $1.35 million, plus punitive damages. Schwilk didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.
In the email he wrote, Schwilk asked, “Will she and her handlers ever stop harassing the San Diego Minutemen? They seem to have endless funds to attack us in our courts, much of it probably drug cartel money.”
Schwilk founded SDMM in 2005. It is one of the most hard-line of nativist extremist groups. Its members have called immigrants “w-------” and “putas” (w-----, in Spanish) and have chased down and harassed employers who hire immigrant day laborers.
While not shy about speaking of undocumented Mexican immigrants in derogatory language, Schwilk implies in his biography on the SDMM website that he’s no racist. “He worked 3 ½ years in a car wash with hard working Mexicans in the early ‘80s,” it reads. “His best friend in school was half Mexican.” Schwilk also claims to speak some Korean — so if he wants to get burned again, maybe he will disparage Yoon in two languages.