Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf, and Elisa Cuthbert have hired legal representation and are seeking ‘significant damages’ and a formal apology from TSN for a tweet that the sports network aired during their Trade Deadline coverage on Monday. Overall it was a tough day for TSN, really.
Here’s a statement that Vancouver based law firm Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP issued on behalf of Cuthbert, Lupul and Phaneuf on Tuesday evening:
On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday. We are sending a similar letter to the author of the tweet, Mr. Anthony Adragna.
It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did.
If TSN and Mr. Adragna do not immediately comply with the demands set out in our letters, we have instructions from our clients to immediately commence a lawsuit against them.
Our clients will not be discussing this matter with the media. Any questions should be directed to the undersigned.
So, whoever was responsible for curating tweets for TSN is probably out of work today…
Honestly factoring social media chatter into a sports broadcast is really, really difficult. Not that I have any experience doing it, but it must be, because so few broadcasters seem to get it right (a few who do it well: Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy and Fox Sports’ Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait).
That TSN’s original plan for incorporating social media into the deadline was to have Dustin Penner helping out Cabral Richards and making up hashtags before the out-of-work winger ultimately pulled out from contributing to the broadcast after he made a distasteful Twitter rape joke just underscores my point.
Not much else needs to be said here. It’s clear that the tweet was defamatory, and Lupul, Cuthbert, and Phaneuf are justified in being upset and in pursuing recompense under the law.
This is the second Toronto-based legal controversy of this sort in recent years, what with Brian Burke’s groundbreaking lawsuit against Poonerman and company being a very similar example. Actually the lawyer representing Lupul, Phaneuf and Cuthbert is the same one that represented Burke, via Pro Hockey Talk’s Jason Brough.
Remember kids: Twitter, or your favourite message board, is a public forum, and – thanks to Burke’s hard won precedent – you can be served on the on-line platform you’re defaming public figures on, even if you’re using an ‘anonymous’ profile.
So don’t talk shit, maybe?