Words Hurt

(Source: BravoTV.com)

By Jaime Page

Let’s be honest: we all do it.  We settle in on the couch with our phone, or snuggle up in bed with our laptop.  It’s almost second nature to click right into whatever social media is your preference.  Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, there’s an immense draw to check out what your friends and favorite celebrities’ latest status updates are. What about checking your favorite celebrity gossip site? It’s not always sunshine and roses on these outlets, especially for those in the public eye.  In recent months, many reality stars are fighting back against tweeters, bloggers and even co-stars, who have typed up slanderous messages about these public figures for the entire social media universe to see.

 Celebrity Defamation

Lisa Hochstein, the freshman star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami, was the victim of slanderous tweets, stating the gorgeous blond was an escort when she previously lived in Las Vegas.  The person who tweeted the statement also included that Hochstein was also a participant in soft porn movies.  Instead of turning a blind eye to the tweets and only hitting the block button, Lisa decided it was time to speak out and take action.  Currently, she is suing for defamation of character and states the claims are completely and totally false. According to Reality Tea, Hochstein is looking for $15,000.00 in compensation.  While that may not seem like much to somebody rolling in the dough, that’s a generous amount for someone who may not have the cash.  To make matters worse, the slanderer, Jessica Lederman, was an actual acquaintance of Hochstein. (Source: bloglawblog.com, realitytea.com)

 Celebrity Rants

Let’s take a look at one of the first Twitter defamation cases.  Courtney Love was accused of using Twitter to tarnish the fashion design career of Dawn Simorangkir.  The outcome? Love settled with Simonrangkir and had to fork over a whopping $430,000.00 to right her Twitter rant. That’s a pretty steep fine to pay for a moment of typing rage. (Source: verdict.justia.com)

 Reality Stars Attack Each Other

According to Radar Online, Former Big Rich Texas cast member Pamela Martin Duarte has filed a lawsuit against current cast member Bonnie Blossman for cyber bullying and defamation, also stating damage to her business.  Included as a defendant in the suit is Dena Miller, wife of Vaughan Miller, grandson of Real Estate mogul Henry S. Miller .  Duarte alleges that both women worked together to spread negative stories in the press about her.  The turbulent relationship between Duarte and Blossman was played out in Seasons 1 and 2 of Big Rich Texas, but the lawsuit takes their dislike of each other one-step further. To date, the case is still open. (Source: courthousenews.com)

 Bloggers Beware

Does freedom of speech equal the freedom to blog whatever falls in your lap from sources? Not so, says judiciaryreport.com.  Fact checking is important and unless a story can be completely backed up by 100% facts, don’t put in on your blog.  Just ask mediatakeout.com, a blogger who was sued by Evelyn Lozada of the reality show Baketball Wives. Media Take Out published a story citing that Lozada, former wife of Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, had an affair with one of his teammates.  When the site refused to remove the story, a lawsuit was slapped on them.  The case was settled out of court and it is not clear how much Lozada received in the settlement. (Source: judiciaryreport.com, s2smagazine.com)

 Trolling For Attention

If it’s not damaging enough to harass people on Twitter or Facebook under a real account, social media users create fake or ‘troll’ accounts by which to harass not only people who do not share their views or opinions, but this is a method also used to harass, aggravate and bully people in the public eye, such as celebrities, reality stars and bloggers.  What can be done about this? Report and block these accounts as much as needed.  Save any tweets or messages that threaten harm and contact your local authorities.  Sanchez Manning penned an article for the U.K. publication, The Independent, in which he described a case of Twitter harassment of Olympic swimmer Tom Daley, which ended up in an arrest. (Source: theindependent.com) Prosecutions in the U.S. over social media rarely happen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t occur.  If you find yourself the target of troll accounts, keep documentation of all contact and report it to both the social media outlet and the local authorities.

 The Final Word

So, my question is: Is it worth it?  Is it worth taking a moment to type something on a social media site or blog, whether it is true or not? I should say not.  The thirty seconds it takes to type a hateful message is not worth the time and aggravation spent in court, not to mention the bills that accompany a lawsuit.  My advice? For bloggers, make sure you fact check and have the evidence to back up the articles you post.  As for Twitter and Facebook ranters, take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard.  One moment of anger is not worth the drain on your time, your resources or the damage to your reputation.  Think about it.

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6 thoughts on “Words Hurt

  1. Agree to an extent. Spreading false lies purposely is wrong; however we are watching dramatic shows. Some of the fighting on the shows is much wore than viewers type. Also, I believe Dena’s husband is a real estate professional by trade.

    • Thanks, realitytvbliss. This error will be corrected – thank you for pointing that out. A correction will be made by the editor. It should state ‘grandson of real estate mogul Henry S. Miller’. Thanks for reading!

  2. Reality TV and the celebrities that utilize this venue to make money do so based on the viewers. If it wasn’t for the viewers Reality TV would not exist. Not everyone’s comments are going to be favorable especially when you use this venue to become a villain. We all know that the villains bring the most viewership and make the most money. You can’t make money from viewership and not expect for the same people to have a reaction towards your actions on the show. We do have freedom of speech for a reason and when you put your life on national tv either dont do the shows, develop a thicker skin or get off the social media sites. You do have choices. You don’t have to be on the social media and there is such a thing called block. You can’t have things the way you want it all the time. If you use viewers for anything they have the right to respond. All consumers have rights, bloggers have rights, and yes celebrities have rights but their rights are amended when it comes to the law of freedom of speech. Slandering someone’s name is totally different. You cant just say “I saw Reality Bitch have intercourse with a frog” when you actually didnt see her do so but you can say The examiner wrote that Joe Schmo saw the Reality Bitch have intercourse with a frog” and list the link and be perfectly fine. This is life and not everyone is going to be liked. I have had people call me a bitch and whore and other things and these people dont even know me and thats the point they dont know me so who cares what they say. I just ignore it. Im not going to go running off to the police, or keep a record and all the other things you listed above because someone hurt my feelings. If someone threatens my life then thats a problem. But other than that who cares, its only Twitter. This is why I admire Kim Kardashian. She does not care what anyone has to say. Good or bad it means people are watching and the money is coming in. She doesn’t call the twitter police or try to get anyone suspended. As far as “Troll Accounts” concerned no account is fake. There is always someone behind any account unless its computerized. This is the day and age of the internet and using your real name can actually be scary. People can look up your name and find out where you live, get your ISB address and break into accounts. Yes some people do it to hide behind but some do it for safety. I don’t judge anyone and I don’t have one way of thinking. Its all for entertainment. Life is too short to get upset over what someone says on twitter.

    • One of the best replies to various blogs on this issue read over the past 4 years….and who is laughing all the way to their various bank accounts….the producers. Dislike KK intensely, but such a valid point. She is utilizing all press to keep those dollars pouring in. Most of the reality ‘stars’ think they will jump in and be immune, and it’s those who can’t take the heat who bet are 1st to call their lawyer. Personally would so enjoy hearing those frantic phone calls they make to the producers.

  3. Just an update regarding the case between Blossman/Myer and Martin. I keep updated closely with the public records and the case. Mrs Miller settled out of the case for an undisclosed amount last June leaving Blossman/Myer in the suit to fend for herself. It’s an extremely interesting case and in my opinion feel Pamela Martin is going to bring out the real truth. It is admirable that she walked away from the show to stand up to do the right thing. Wish her the best and enjoyed this article very much.

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