Twitter comments (along with others) have now become the basis for a Internet defamation lawsuit.
Courtney Love, always a class act, has been posting “tweets” about fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, also known as Boudoir Queen. Simorangkir claims that Love failed to pay money that was owed to her. Love claims otherwise, and refered to Simorangkir as a “nasty lying hosebag thief”, as well as accusing her of being a drug addict and a prostitute, according to the Associated Press.
Assuming the comments were false, the statements are clearly defamatory, but the case will still present some interesting issues if it ever makes it to trial. Defamation is always about reputation, and defamatory remarks do not always translate to loss of reputation. Given the context of the statements and the person making them, will anyone believe that Simorangkir is guilty of the acts claimed by Love?
[Update] In March 2011, Love settled the Internet defamation lawsuit by paying Dawn Simorangkir a reported $430,000. So did Love learn anything from this experience? Apparently not.
Now she is being sued by her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes. Ms. Holmes is piqued that Love allegedly tweeted:
“I was fucking devastated when Rhonda J Holmes Esq of San Diego was bought off.”
Love is also alleged to have stated that she had been “hiring and firing lawyers” and claimed that Holmes had “disappeared” and stopped taking her calls after “they got to her.”
No reasonable person could interpret these statements as meaning anything other than Love was accusing Holmes of taking a bribe, but Love’s current attorney argued the point anyway. In a demurrer to the complaint he claimed that “there is no limit to one’s imagination regarding the possible meaning of a phrase like “they got to her.”
The Los Angeles Superior Court judge hearing the matter didn’t buy it either, and overruled the demurrer.