A pastor who claims he was gay for several years before self-identifying as “a former homosexual,” marrying a woman and having three kids is suing Vimeo, the online video platform giant, for removing 89 of his videos preaching sexual orientation conversion.
In his 13-page federal lawsuit filed in Orange County, James Domen, founder of Church United, wants his videos placed back on Vimeo’s website as well as more than $79,000 in compensation for what he’s calling illegal, “oppressive censorship” and violations of California’s statutory protections based on sexual orientation.
Vimeo terminated Domen’s account in December, sending correspondence that the company “does not allow videos that harass, incite hatred or include discriminatory or defamatory speech.”
The pastor believes the move tramples his free speech rights and is hypocritical, noting the company accepts videos “which advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students who are bullied or discriminated against.”
Attorneys for Vimeo have three weeks to file a formal response in court.
For unknown reasons, Orange County has been a national hotbed of gay conversion therapy advocates for decades and may have comprised the perfect jury pool for the plaintiff.
But though filed in the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Domen’s lawsuit was moved to a more gay-friendly Los Angeles, where U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson will preside.
Nada Higuera, Domen’s attorney, has worked for Focus on the Family, a Christian conservative project of evangelist James Dobson, one of the country’s most vocal and well-funded anti-gay advocates.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.