Empty legal threats from Italian pseudoscientist to Dutch skeptic

Pepijn van Erp at the 2014 Skepsis Congres. (Vera de Kok CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Once again, American-Italian fringe scientist Ruggero Santilli, notorious for his rejection of the theories of Einstein, the Big Bang, redshift and his antisemitic conspiracy theories about everyone who disagrees with him, has sent empty threats to Dutch skeptical activist Pepijn van Erp, board member of Stichting Skepsis. Recently, Santillo claimed to have detected Invisible Terrestrial Entitites with his ‘antimatter-light‘ telescope (an idea that became quite popular on UFO/paranormal websites), but, to his chagrin, Van Erp challenged his findings.

According to Santilli, his attorney wrote a letter (which, curiously, contains the same kind of grammar and spelling errors Santilli himself regularly makes) to Van Erp telling him to rectify three kinds of statements that supposedly harm his reputation:

  1. Van Erp calls Santilli a “fringe scientist”, “a mad professor” and “a cunning scam artist”;
  2. Van Erp states that “the whole concept of antimatter is bullshit”;
  3. and Van Erp ‘defined’ Magnegas Corporation a “pyramid scheme”.

However, Van Erp corrects him that he said ‘antimatter-light’, not ‘antimatter’, explains that under Dutch law, his accusations against Santilli are not defamatory or libelous and thus not illegal, repeating what these claims are based on, and then goes on to defend his criticism of Magnegas. If this comes to a lawsuit, Santilli will have no leg to stand on.