My blog Cruise Law News (CLN) is one of the few places where you can read about all of the problems the cruise lines don't want you to know about. Like sexual assault of women, molestation of children, pollution of the water and air, and cruise line cover-ups of disappearances on the high seas.
CLN has a wide, loyal and growing readership. It's the ninth most popular law blog in the U.S. This month alone, my articles have been quoted on CNN and Fox News and cited in articles or documentaries by ABC's 20/20, the American Bar Association Journal, Associated Press, CNBC, Daily Mail, Miami Herald, Newsday, Reuters, Seattle Times, Sun Sentinel, Canadian television stations and the largest radio networks in Montreal, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Vancouver and Miami.
After my opinion piece for CNN What Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know, I received a number of emails and telephone calls congratulating me and thanking me for being a safety advocate and watchdog of the cruise lines.
But I also received the usual hate mail from people who like the cruise industry status quo exactly the way it is. Over the three and one-half years CLN has been on line, I have received more than my fair share of hateful emails and insulting comments left on my voice mail at work.
Winston Churchill said this: "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
The most abusive comments usually come from people who work for the cruise lines. I'm not talking about crew members, but corporate types ashore in the cruise line corporate headquarters. These people try and stay anonymous. I call them cruise cowards. I keep a folder with the most hateful comments to read one day when I retire. Some of the hate mail consists of boring one or two line rants. Minor trash talking, very disappointing. I could do much better.
But some are works of art.
Last week, I received the email below. Quite well written, except for one typo, with lots of juicy adjectives. It was written as a comment to my article Carnival Triumph Passengers Happy to Be Home.
"And you are surely the happiest of all, uncle Jim. Like a maggot on road kill. You've got this gravy train leaching blood out of successful and responsible businesses under a phony bullshit cover. Behind that smiling cardboard cutout is a weasel scanning for the next meal. You are a helluva good example for kids thinking about a law career, buddy. You'd be a good prototype for a cartoon character that distills into one face the essence of what people hate about people in your profession. Take the low road to sucess (sic), find an easy prey, start sucking and don't let go. That's the Jim Walker way."
The comment was ironic because I already stated that we would not be filing any lawsuits arising out of the Triumph engine room fire, just like we stated that no one should file suit following the Carnival Splendor cruise ship fire in 2010 either.
But the author of this comment obviously has some deep personal animosity that existed long before the latest Carnival cruise ship caught fire. I wondered who and where the person was. So I took a look.
When someone leaves a comment on this blog, I have software that permits me to track the internet provider (IP) address. I can't see who reads the blog, but I can find out information if someone leaves a comment because the comment section tracks the IP addresses of those people who leave comments.
So I tracked the IP address. It tracked directly to Holland America Line (HAL) in Seattle Washington. I emailed the person back and said thanks. I would post an article that the hate mail was the best I had seen. The next email I sent resulted in a response coming back that there was no such email. Looks like the HAL cruise coward de-activated the email address and is probably hiding under a desk at HAL's headquarters in Seattle.
This is how the cruise lines work. HAL is not the only cruise line to send anonymous hate mail, unknowingly leave a IP address in the process, and then scamper down a hole when confronted. I have caught Carnival and Royal Caribbean doing it as well.
So why the hard feelings from the Carnival-owned-HAL?
I have only one matter right now with HAL. I represent the family of a man who disappeared from the Eurodam. I wrote HAL a standard letter and asked for a copy of the video camera images, a copy of the reports to the FBI, Sheriff's office and flag state, and a list of witnesses with information. This is the very basic information we request in all passenger overboard cases to help families try and find out what happened to their loved ones who disappear at sea.
But HAL decided to stonewall our request. It provided us with nothing but threats and insults. HAL stated that it would not even consider cooperating unless the widow first agreed to state whether her missing husband had life insurance. HAL demanded that the widow agreed to provide HAL's lawyers with her husband's employment information, all confidential medical records, and any psychological records.
Cruise lines like HAL are all smiley faces when they sell you a cruise. But if your loved one disappears on the high seas, the cruise lines will stab you in the back to conceal the truth. And if you hire a lawyer, they may send anonymous hate mail from their corporate headquarters.
Hate Mail Art: protectportelos.org