Lawyers representing Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten to sue TSN over inflammatory tweet

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? 

  • jasken

    TSN has apologizes for what happened how much you want to bet they paid whatever the parties asked for out of courts. There is no way TSN wanted to pay all those possible damages no the original person who made the statement if he/she fights it is in a world of financial burden. Actual damages, assumed damages. punitive damages then you got mitigating damages best not to make these types of statements without some sort of evidence or you are in a world of financial burden.

    How does that effect these people it is based on the plaintiff’s expected life wages and expected wages. State of economy expectancy of wages in their industries. Lupul and Phaneuf’s contracts throw on Cuthberts that is some serious financial payment tsn is responsible for and that person.

  • jasken

    I can understand going after TSN with not having someone actually read over the tweets before posting them live on TV, (they actually have money to pay the damages done here). But to go after the guy who made the silly comment? C’mon, what are the chances of a comment like that getting to air? how many people write comments under Phanuef’s pictures on instagram etc. Is he going to go after them too? This Adragna dude should apologize, definitely, but pay damages? no. TSN is at fault here, they should of had someone combing through the tweets and now we see the consequences of someone not doing their job properly.

    P.S. it’s one thing to critique someone’s play etc but personal attacks are not called for by anyone, so just because I said not to go after Adragna financially doesn’t mean I endorse it. Calling someone fat (Kessel), or saying things about a spouse (Phaneuf) has nothing to do with how productive they actually are on ice. It’s just downright bullying.

    • CMpuck

      I agree with your P.S. absolutely.

      I can’t agree that the person who sent the tweet should get off so lightly. No one forced him to write it or to post it, he has not apologized for it but he’s blaming TSN for showing it. There’s no admittance of wrong doing on his part. It’s all someone else’s fault.

      Dubas had something to say about the matter as well as Kessel standing up for his team-mate on TSN radio but TSN has opted not to show it on their site, basically blocking their own radio station segment. You’d think after this the media might make an effort to be less obnoxious but the opposite is true.

  • CMpuck

    Of course it is hard for you to like these talented pro athletes #CMpuck … because those that can’t love to criticize those that do. I think they call it “the wannabe” or “the inadequacy” syndome…

    • CMpuck

      I used to love Kessel’s attitude of indifference with the media, it really seemed he could care less, had huge respect for that, this year he’s so rattled.

  • CMpuck

    It’s sad that these guys instead of pulling the team together have nothing better to do and they all have a big part on showing that they are all losers and they with rest of these plays except a few of them are guilty of season, when it counts and if you are trying to make the playoffs for owners and the Fans.
    Grow up and be men, even sport caster tell it like it is.