Realtor sues to restore her good name after trans activists hounded her out of business

By Around the Web

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Tyler O’Neil
The Daily Signal

FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Transgender activists tried to hound a Georgia real estate agent out of business because the realtor spoke in favor of moving a sexually explicit book from the children’s section to the adults’ section of the public library. Now, she is suing for defamation and violation of her rights under Georgia law.

“I never actually said what they accused me of saying,” Julie Mauck, the real estate agent, told The Daily Signal, referring to the transgender activists. “They began contacting my broker, asking my broker to let me go.”

In Georgia, licensed real estate agents must work with licensed brokers to carry on their business, so contacting Mauck’s broker represented an attempt to cancel her business. She works in the Athens area, east of Atlanta.

Mauck, who founded the Oconee County chapter of the parental rights group Moms for Liberty in 2021, has advocated parental rights in schools, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. She described facing opposition after defending parental rights.

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“Google took my account down because they would leave false reviews,” Mauck said of the transgender activists.

The Coalition for Liberty, which helps Americans targeted by cancel culture, is paying Mauck’s legal fees.

“If somebody is knowingly and intentionally lying about you to try to silence your voice, that’s the essence of cancel culture,” Coalition for Liberty President Doug Turpin told The Daily Signal. “The essence of our mission is to stop people on the Left from trying to suppress and silence other people’s voices.”

“If you can’t win with just an argument that you put forth in a civil and respectful manner, then what they’re trying to do is win by cancel culture, by defaming people, costing them their jobs, and making everybody afraid to speak up and say what they think,” Turpin said. “That’s their goal, and we believe that has to stop.”

“Julie [Mauck] heard about what we do,” so she reached out, he said. “If you’ve been canceled with somebody knowingly and intentionally lying to try to harm you … come to the Coalition for Liberty and we’ll help you.”

The Library Comments

The legal case stretches back to comments Mauck made at a meeting of the Oconee County Public Library Board of Trustees on July 10, 2023.

She argued that the library should move the book “Flamer” by Mike Curato—which includes images of naked teenage boys and descriptions of genitals, sexual behavior, profanity, and derogatory terms—from the kids’ section to the adults’ section of the library. She also noted that some pedophiles, who often describe themselves as “minor-attracted persons,” try to insinuate themselves into the “plus” part of the acronym LGBTQ+.

A female transgender activist, who goes by either “Fiona Bell” or “Felix Bell” depending on the circumstances, stood behind Mauck during the meeting with a sign reading “JOY is ALL ages!”

The sign also featured an upside-down pink triangle with the words “NEVER AGAIN,” a reference to the Nazis’ torture and extermination of openly homosexual men. The other side of the sign read “STOP COP CITY,” a reference to the movement opposing a police and firefighter training station just outside Atlanta.

The Attempt to ‘Cancel’ Mauck

Bell and another transgender activist, Danielle Carmella Bonanno, reached out to Mauck’s broker, Bob Allen, to complain about Mauck’s comments and suggest that Allen should discipline her or terminate their relationship.

Bonanno, a man identifying as a woman who says he is president of the Athens Pride & Queer Collective, sent Allen an email that very night expressing “deep concern” about what he described as Mauck’s “recent discriminatory behavior towards the LGBTQ+ community.”

Bonnano claimed that Mauck made “derogatory comments” and referred “to LGBTQ+ individuals as pedophiles.”

“I would like to emphasize that this conduct is in clear violation of Article 10 of the [National Association of Realtors] Code of Ethics, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Bonnano wrote.

He urged Allen to “conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and take appropriate action,” mentioning “sensitivity training, disciplinary action, or any other necessary measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”

The next day, Allen informed Mauck that he would stop serving as her real estate broker, though he didn’t formally separate from her until Aug. 11.

Bell emailed Allen on July 13, falsely claiming that Mauck “made a public display of calling the entire LGBTQ community ‘pedophiles,’ along with calling for censorship of LGBTQ-related material.”

On the same day, Bell submitted an ethics complaint against Mauck to the Georgia Association of Realtors, repeating her claim that Mauck called “the entire LGBTQ community ‘pedophiles’” and supported censorship. She signed the ethics complaint as “Fiona Bell.”

Allen, Mauck’s broker, received the ethics complaint from the Georgia Realtors organization Aug. 11, and he formally ended his partnership with Mauck that day. David Steele became Mauck’s broker Oct. 18, but between Aug. 12 and Oct. 17, she couldn’t work as a real estate agent.

A panel convened by the Georgia Association of Realtors determined Nov. 9 that even though it was an “undisputed fact that the conduct at issue is not related to a real estate transaction,” Mauck “nonetheless violated Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits discrimination in real estate transactions.”

Mauck filed an appeal Nov. 30, and the association cleared her of the complaint on Jan. 4. The lawsuit notes that “there was no such evidence” that she called the entire LGBTQ community pedophiles, nor that she called for censorship.

During the appeal process, a member of the Nov. 9 panel said Mauck violated Article 10 in part because pedophiles are a protected class. The association hasn’t formally stated that it considers pedophiles to be a protected class and Mauck’s successful appeal suggests it does not do so.

“I would have to say the most shocking thing that they said was that … pedophiles are a protected class,” Mauck told The Daily Signal. “They also said that the context [of my comments] did not matter.”

A Second Round

Bonanno, apparently dissatisfied with the fact that Mauck found a new broker, reached out to the new broker, Steele, in an email Jan. 16.

Bonanno noted the ethics complaint—which had been dismissed—and repeated the claim that Mauck had used “derogatory language, referring to the LGBTQ+ community as pedophiles.”

Bonanno wrote that Mauck had “continued to exhibit inappropriate behavior” by calling Bonanno a “transvestite.” He sent a follow-up email Feb. 2.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit, filed Monday, claims that Bonanno and his organization, Athens Pride, “willfully disparaged” Mauck “by false or misleading representation of fact,” even “knowing such conduct was deceptive,” in violation of Georgia’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The lawsuit also claims that Fiona/Felix Bell violated Georgia law against “tortious interference with a business relationship” by filing the ethics complaint and emailing Allen. Finally, the suit accuses Bell of engaging in “libel per quod,” defaming Mauck.

The lawsuit urges the court to give compensatory and punitive damages to Mauck and to file an injunction forcing Athens Pride and Bonanno to “cease and desist from engaging in deceptive trade practices” and to publicly apologize to her.

After losing her broker, Mauck applied for her own brokerage license. She now has her own brokerage firm, Freedom Realty USA. “They can’t do this to me anymore,” she told The Daily Signal.

She encouraged Americans to speak up, even if it costs them.

“I would just like to say, ‘Speak up,’” Mauck said. “People have got to start speaking up and business owners have got to start having a backbone.”

“It’s time for people to just do the right thing,” she added. “If you have to lose a few dollars from it, you lose a few dollars, but you can sleep at night.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]


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