October 15, 2019
TO WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION BOARD
As the WikiMedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees knows, I represent Gary Null, PhD, one of innumerable individuals who have been slandered on Wikipedia. We are continuing to write to Board members, those who hold fiduciary responsibilities to the Foundation in an effort to do all we can to avoid the inevitable fallout from Wikipedia’s activities, which include, at a minimum civil liability and a loss of tax exempt status. As we explicitly detail below this risk will increase as the Board continues to ignore or obfuscate the biases that enables Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia editors to continue activities that will lead to legal actions of libel.
I direct your attention to the recently published article entitled “Why Jimmy Wales’ Personal Philosophy Should Discredit Wikipedia’s Trustworthiness.” The article details Wales’ publicly acknowledged role in the propagation of attack campaigns that are seen by thousands of individuals on a daily basis on health and other issues on Wikipedia. This article does not deal in conjecture or hearsay. It contains facts and cites direct statements. Sadly, this has been brought to the editors’ and WikiMedia’s legal department’s attention on countless occasions with no responsible or feasible solution being offered to correct the character defamation and biographical inaccuracies that have resulted injuring the reputations and livelihoods of those who have been victimized. Responses from the Foundation’s legal department have been completely ineffective and unsuitable.
With respect to Wikipedia entries dealing with controversies on history, non-medical science and current events, administrators, and we assume the WikiMedia Foundation itself, have been quick to respond to correct inaccuracies. Therefore, it is fully within its capacity to address problems regarding subjective biases and gross offensive falsehoods. However, for subjects dealing with complementary and alternative medicine and its leading practitioners and advocates, Wikipedia and its editorial administrators have failed to do so. This is indicative of a systemic bias within Wikipedia, and its parent organization, and there is a deliberate intention to ignore or bypass complaints at the highest levels.
Recently we were in receipt of the formal communications from the WikiMedia’s Donor Services outlining Wikipedia’s editorial policies and guidelines, ownership of articles, neutrality policies, and resource and verifiability standards. The letter clearly states:
“…all content added to Wikipedia is founded upon reliable, independent, secondary sources. Primary sources are generally deemed unacceptable to verify material on Wikipedia (as they would be in any other encyclopedia), as they often constitute original research which is prohibited by policy.”
Contrary to Wikipedia’s own verifiability standards, resources relied upon to discredit, disparage and even condemn the reputations of people with living biographies on Wikipedia are more often than not sourced from unreliable, biased primary blogs, personal website pages, and unconventional fringe commentary sources that are not acknowledged nor recognized even in the mainstream media and professional literature.
Therefore, we are putting the WikiMedia’s Board on notice that its members have been given detailed documentation of the biases, slanders and character assassinations that Wikipedia shelters. Appropriate federal and state agency officials are also being notified. Earlier, the Board was informed that certain Wikipedia editors, who we believe have received special editing privileges, have been notified for potential legal action. This is behavior that will be further investigated. Individual Board members and WikiMedia officials who carry a fiduciary responsibility may be held personally responsible in a class action or individual lawsuits.
The Wikipedia’s attorneys are fully aware of these injustices committed against my client and others and have failed to remedy the matter. To date, federal and state officials have been provided with much of the documentation that may lead to such a lawsuit.
The proper remedial action would be for WikiMedia’s Board members to uphold their executive responsibility to have either all defamatory statements and/or erroneous information immediately removed from the biographies of Gary Null, Deepak Chopra and other members of the medical community who have been defaced by Wikipedia editors deleted or their biographies to be removed altogether. In addition, Wikipedia’s treatment and coverage of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, which has been fully recognized by the National Institutes of Health and awarded its own federally approved Center, should undergo a thorough review, revaluation and efforts made to clean up the encyclopedia from editors who are motivated solely by ideologies to discredit and condemn alternative medical modalities.
We await the WikiMedia Board’s response.