Let nothing below be taken to imply that James Woods is or has ever been a user of cocaine. After all, Woods has just sued an unnamed Twitter user who labeled him a “cocaine addict”; no one wants to be the target of litigation launched by the gifted actor who so successfully embodied H.R. Haldeman.
“This action arises from the publication of a malicious and fabricated statement by a cowardly individual who hides behind the Twitter name ‘Abe List’ (AL) to falsely accuse and humiliate others who dare to harbor opinions different from his own,” Woods’ complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, read. “On July 15, AL stepped over the line by falsely accusing actor James Woods of being a ‘cocaine addict’ on the social media site Twitter, a message sent to thousands of AL’s followers and hundreds of thousands of Mr. Woods’ followers. In fact, Woods is not now, nor has he ever been, a cocaine addict.”
On Twitter, the circulation of unfounded rumor and savage insults is a daily occurrence — one might think an Emmy-award winning actor might laugh it off.
No: Woods is seeking $10 million from AL — whose account, which the Hollywood Reporter said was “@abelisted,” has already disappeared. As Salon reported, AL made the allegedly malicious, fabricated comment after the politically outspoken Woods tweeted earlier this month: “USATODAY app features Bruce Jenner’s latest dress selection, but makes zero mention of Planned Parenthood baby parts market.”
Woods didn’t like the allusion to cocaine one bit.
“Woods intends to unmask and reveal AL for the liar he is and to recover in excess of $10 million in damages caused by AL’s outrageous conduct,” the complaint read. “For over forty-five years, Woods (68) has worked tirelessly to build a career and reputation as one of the most hard-working, prolific and recognizable actors of our time … AL, and anyone else using social media to propagate lies and do harm, should take note. They are not impervious to the law.”
But even as Woods’ curious action winds its way through the California justice system, one wonders if AL could, perhaps, be misinterpreting Woods’ recent behavior. Even as he approaches 70, Woods, genius player of villains whose attack-dog demeanor and sometimes unusual personal life occasionally grabs headlines, seems to be getting extra energy from somewhere.
But whatever secret element makes Woods unforgettably slimy onscreen sometimes spills over into reality. It’s not that the actor is badly behaved a la Richard Pryor or Lindsay Lohan. It’s just that he always seems ready for a fight when no one else has their fists up.
Exhibit A: Woods’ preferred battleground — @realjameswoods, his Twitter account. While Woods is reportedly a registered Democrat and supporter of LGBT causes, he’s emerged as a sort of tea party fellow traveler in the social media age.