Courtney Love becomes first celebrity sued for Twitter defamation

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Courtney Love becomes first celebrity sued for Twitter defamation

Sun Mar 29, 2009 @ 11:44PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


CourtneyloveYes, we've heard that Twitter has become popular with celebrities. And people pretending to be celebrities. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who's who.

Shaquille O'Neal? Yup, his Twitter account is real. That's him.

50 Cent? Not exactly. The rapper hired a guy to tweet for him.

Britney Spears? She's got a whole cadre tweeting for her. So not really.


Courtney Love? Oh boy is that her.

In fact, Love just won the distinction of being the first celebrity sued for tweeting.

In Los Angeles Superior Court, clothes designer Dawn Simorangkir, also known as Boudoir Queen, is suing Love for defamation, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress for "an extensive rant" on Twitter about how she was billed for custom clothing. 

It's hard to be extensive when one is limited to just 140 characters. But if anybody can do it, it's Love, who allegedly wrote things like "oi vey don't fuck with my wardrobe or you will end up in a circle of corched eaeth hunted til your dead." (Here's Love's twitter feed again so don't blame us for the spelling.)

"Whether caused by a drug induced psychosis, a warped understanding of reality, or the belief that her money and fame allow her to disregard the law, Love has embarked [o]n what is nothing short of an obsessive and delusional crusade to terrorize and destroy Simorangkir, Simorangkir's reputation and her livelihood," says the complaint.

We'll see about that. Looks like Love was mostly stating her opinion. Regardless, the bigger question is how courts will evaluate comments made via casual yet powerful media like Twitter? Debate has circulated about message board posts, but in a forum where people "follow" each other's informal idea drops, many of which aren't very well-considered, Twitter seems to be even more tricky domain.

This probably isn't the last case we'll see against a high-profile twitterer. Which got us thinking: Has Shaq tweeted about Kobe lately?

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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