Sometimes its good to stop, look and listen when operating in the new yet massive social media sweep. In today’s day and age it is essential that every artist creates an online presence but celebrities are slowly learning this beast can become a severe burden. With the advent of Web 2.0, user generated content has become the dominant player in the social media web, attracting over 115 million Internet users in 2010. As Facebook, Twitter and the influx of blogs take over the web, celebrities with large social media followings are becoming targets for lawsuits and victims of defamation.
During the Twitter boom of 2009 our first subject Miley Cyrus approached her inaugural social media disaster. One of Miley’s devoted and loyal friends made the intelligent decision to post this delicious photo on the Internet.
Where the photo landed I do not know but let’s be serious it belongs on Hightimes.com. Anyways, if you can take your eyes off the guy on Pluto, holding a chalice of vino, so high he can’t open his eyes, then you might notice delicate Miley sitting on her "sober" boyfriends lap mocking a "slanted eye" look. Several days later an Asian Pacific Islander named Lucie Kim filed a 4 billion dollar class action lawsuit against Cyrus, claiming the gesture was a civil rights violation. The judge eventually threw out the lawsuit but it’s a reminder to all artists that social media presence must be monitored carefully.
If we skip a year forward to August 16th, 2010 we come to an issue between the boy band pop star Joe Jonas and his underage ex Demi Lovato. According to AceShowBiz, “On August 15th Canadian blogger Zack Taylor claimed Jonas and 17 year-old Lovatio - who is under the legal age of sexual consent in many U.S. states - were ‘friends with benefits’.” Jonas did not appreciate this comment and within days his legal team had delivered a letter to Taylor demanding that the blogger remove all comments pertaining to the relationship. According to TMZ.com, who acquired the letter, the singer’s attorney warns, “Your repeated posting of fabricated stories regarding our client must be viewed as evidence of your wilful or reckless disregard for the truth and reflect a malicious attempt to attack and devalue our client's good name and reputation." "We will be monitoring your site and will be advising our client of his legal options, including, but not limited to, the filing of a lawsuit against you for defamation.”
Although the Joe Jonas case never transformed into a court case, it paved the way for the first celebrity social media defamation case. On March 3rd, 2011 actress Courtney Love settled a defamation lawsuit with the fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir for $430,000. In 2009 Love began to grill Simorangkir over a $4,000 clothing payment. In court Love argued that her rants were merely an expression of opinion and were not damaging. Simorangkir expressed that as an entertainer Love has social media power at her back and personally I don’t blame her, if I was called an "asswipe nasty lying hoebag thief" I’d want Love’s head and her cash. This settlement is important because it shapes the precedent for future social media defamation cases. It should remind all artists that yes, social media can aid in your progression but it’s a beast nobody should feel comfortable flirting with. With fame comes a following and a following creates power so keeping that in mind we should all remember the viral nature of Web 2.0
To honor the current King of Social Media I give you Chamillionaire’s new song “Charlie Sheen”. Stay Fresh My Friends. Dj Dolph
11:14 PM |