Many celebrities are compelling social media personas for a couple of reasons. They offer keen insights on the human experience, make searing political commentary, or are simply trainwrecks you love to see. While the likes of Kevin Hart or Chrissy Teigen may be “canceled” because of their problematic tweets from the past, others may luckily escape “cancellation” but run into lawsuits instead.
No Future career in social media for this rapper
Rapper Future (real name Nayvadius Wilburn) isn’t someone you would follow on Twitter for his quirky social media persona. His ex-partner, the R&B singer Ciara, filed a defamation lawsuit for his tweetstorm containing negative commentary about her mothering skills, specifically, about how she’s preventing him from seeing their child. He also called her a “b-word with control problems,” among other things.
Ciara’s team asked for $15 million, but he countersued and claimed that he couldn’t do further harm to her reputation seeing as she is already failing in her career. That is what kids today would call “a sick burn.” Still, it needs to be said: Future should log off the internet whenever he is in an oversharing mood. And Mr. Future, we’ve got just the right guide for properly discussing your marital and child custody affairs on social media for you.
Out of the woods thanks to a certain punctuation mark
Actor and spouter of hot takes on Twitter James Woods got into legal trouble when he decided to be on the internet and tweet one fine day. Mr. Woods posted two photos of women on Twitter: one photo was of a woman at a Trump rally raising a Nazi salute, and the other is an entirely different person named Portia Boulger. The accompanying text of the actor’s tweet read: “So-called #Trump ‘Nazi’ is a #BernieSanders agitator/operative?”
Ms. Boulger got wind of the tweet and was unhappy at having her image shared by a famous actor’s hundreds of thousands of followers and consequently having her character questioned. She filed a defamation lawsuit against the actor. However, the case was dismissed because Mr. Woods’ tweet was phrased as a question rather than a statement. The court ruled that the tweet could “reasonably be read with an innocent meaning” and was therefore not libelous.
No Love for/from Ms. Love
Rock vocalist, actress, and Twitter libel (aka Twibel) pioneer Courtney Love has courted not one but three defamation lawsuits for her controversial tweets. Ms. Love settled two libel suits brought against her by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir. In 2015, the former Mrs. Cobain called Ms. Simorangkir a “peddler of illegal narcotics” and a “modern-day courtesan” (euphemism’s ours) on her Twitter account.
That case was settled for $430,000, but Ms. Love was not done with the designer. In the same year, she followed up and hit the designer with fresh insults — she made fun of Ms. Simorangkir’s supposedly paltry Pinterest follower count. The latter filed suit again, and the case was settled for $350,000. You know it’s a serious feud when someone pokes fun at someone’s Pinterest follower count.
Barred from the network
Former TV star and all-around notorious public figure Roseanne Barr famously had her TV show Roseanne canceled due to her racist tweets. Roseanne’s (the real-life person, not the working-class hero of the TV show) tweets cover a range of problematic opinions and displays of troll-like behavior.
In 2014, the parents of George Zimmerman, the accused killer of Trayvon Martin, filed a lawsuit against Ms. Barr for tweeting their address in March 2012. In Ms. Barr’s defense, the Zimmermans’ address is publicly available information. Their lawsuit, which cited “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “invasion of privacy,” was dismissed. To be fair, the celeb graciously deleted the controversial tweet.
She was not on that kookie diet
No stranger to tweeting controversially, Kim Kardashian was sued by Siegal Cookie Diet, a cookie company that produces weight-loss cookies. In 2009, the cookie diet company mistakenly implied that Kim K was on their cookie diet. She invalidated the implication and made it known to her then 2.7 million Twitter followers that she was not on the cookie diet and that she was, in fact, on a different non-cookie-based diet.
Ms. Kardashian further implied that if the cookie creators can lie about her being on their cookie diet, they can lie about other things too. The company sued her for her negative comments, essentially claiming that one unfavorable tweet from a Kardashian is enough to harm their business. Sadly for the cookie makers, the suit likely crumbled under the weight of a little thing called “free speech.”
Posting borderline libelous tweets is dangerous. Words hurt, and even more so if these were blasted onto hundreds of thousands or millions of social media followers. If you suffered from physical injuries in Washington state, schedule a consultation with personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams.