Contact: Sheridan Betts
Phone: (405) 496-6115
OCPA defeats meritless Paycom lawsuit, cancel culture effort
OKLAHOMA CITY (February 23, 2021)—Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small issued the following statement today to celebrate OCPA’s recent court victory over $22 billion tech company, Paycom, and its attempts to cancel OCPA.
“Since 1993, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has been a voice for free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative, and personal responsibility. We have never shied away from advocating for those values and for the working families of Oklahoma, and we never will—even if it angers a $22 billion tech company and they try to cancel our voice and the right to free speech enjoyed by the thousands of Oklahomans we represent.
“In 2020, we proudly fought to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Oklahomans, because everyone is essential. We argued for sensible safety measures that would protect citizens from COVID-19 while also allowing their continued pursuit of their lives and livelihoods. In contrast, billionaire Paycom CEO Chad Richison was among those advocating for a broader suspension of businesses’ services and increased government control in Oklahoma. When we referenced that fact in an article, and even linked directly to Richison’s own letter that endorsed actions that would have financially devastated Oklahomans, Paycom responded by filing a meritless lawsuit, attempting to cancel OCPA and silence OCPA’s free-speech advocacy for working families.
“Paycom failed. A court has now dismissed Paycom’s lawsuit—with prejudice. This is an important victory for all Oklahomans, for the First Amendment rights of free speech and a free press, and a crucial victory against ‘cancel culture’ in Oklahoma. Rather than accept the court’s decisive ruling, Paycom has filed an appeal in which it publicly smears the reputation of the court. It continues trying to cancel OCPA through harassing litigation in the courtroom rather than engage in the battle of ideas in public. OCPA will not back down, and we appreciate working with all citizens who share our mission and oppose the dictatorial forces of those opposed to the right to free speech.”
In its lawsuit, Paycom, a $22 billion tech company, claimed defamation and tortious interference occurred when OCPA briefly mentioned the company CEO’s advocacy for broader business closures. In dismissing the case with prejudice, the court ruled that “Paycom’s claims against OCPA relate to or are in response to the OCPA’s exercise of the right to free speech.” The court also ruled there was an “absence of any evidence of actual malice by OCPA.”
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) is a free market think tank committed to advancing principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative and personal responsibility.