LYNN — A harassment prevention order against conservative radio host Dianna Ploss was granted to Swampscott Critical Partner in Anti-Racism’s Tamy-Feé Meneide in Lynn District Court Wednesday.
Meneide filed the order against Ploss earlier this month due to a series of incidents beginning in December in which Ploss repeatedly told her followers that Meneide supported “Burn Loot Murder,” a play on Black Lives Matter, and was a member of the Chinese Communist Party, and published images of Meneide and her son with communist symbols.
“I’d suggest that Ms. Meneide has certainly proven to the court that there is sufficient evidence that she is in reasonable fear of the actions by Ms. Ploss,” said Rob Galibois, attorney for Meneide, in the hearing.
Attorney Richard Chambers, who was representing Ploss, argued that because Meneide is a government employee, Ploss’ actions were protected speech under the First Amendment. However, Judge Jane Prince found that because Meneide is not an elected official and her position is closer to that of a private citizen, Ploss’ speech is not protected.
“(When) you’re trying to distinguish between political hyperbole and true threats, you have to consider context and whether a person would experience reasonable fear,” Prince said. “Ms. Ploss can still have her ideas about Black Lives Matter and do it in her public forum. She just can’t do it with targeting Ms. Meneide in this way.”
Ploss has held weekly protests in Swampscott since April in support of former President Donald Trump.
The harassment prevention order will be extended through Feb. 24, 2022.