Oh boy. Here's a fun one. You had to expect that there would be more defamation lawsuits about Twitter following the first one involving Courtney Love
, but this one is quite impressive, considering of all the twists and turns that must be followed. It involves some company promoting something called "The Cookie Diet" (which appears to be exactly what you would think) suing Kim Kardashian for libel
. If you don't keep up with pop culture, Kim Kardashian is one of those people famous for being famous. The details of the lawsuit, though, are somewhat complex, and it's difficult to figure out who to side with in this trainwreck in progress (and, yes, it seems pretty likely that the whole thing is a publicity stunt for all involved, but that doesn't mean it's not worth covering).
So, basically, the story is that this "cookie diet" supposedly has some fans in Hollywood, and a variety of media have covered the story. Some of those media reports claimed that Kardashian (among many others) were fans of the diet. The Cookie Diet people -- like you would expect -- have a page on their website that links to news coverage, including a story (which they had nothing to do with) that said Kardashian used the diet. At some point, they also sent Kardashian's publicist a box of the cookies.
At some point towards the end of last year, Kardashian saw the link on the website and got upset, posting two Twitter messages saying the following:
- "Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet is falsely promoting that I'm on this diet. NOT TRUE! I would never do this unhealthy diet! I do QuickTrim!"
- If this Dr. Siegal is lying about me being on this diet, what else are they lying about? Not cool!"
After that, her lawyers sent the Cookie Diet people a letter demanding that it remove the link to the story. It's unclear on what legal grounds the demand was made, as the diet company insists it had nothing to do with the story, did not supply the information and, in fact, had no knowledge that Kardashian had tried the diet. However, they did remove the link. It was only then that they noticed the Twitter messages and... then we get the lawsuit.
OK. So far we've already got some confusion about whether a link to a news article is actionable, combined with a Twitter libel claim. But then the story gets even more bizarre. You see, there's been a lot of talk lately about Kardashian being the most high profile client of some company that gets people to post sponsored Twitter messages. In fact, reports claim that some companies are paying her $10,000 per sponsored message
. This may or may not be true, but if it is
true, then the companies paying that money are likely getting seriously ripped off because they don't understand how Twitter works and how follower counts are grossly inflated
So, what does this have to do with the cookies? Well, the cookie people are noting in the legal filing that Kardashian is paid to promote QuickTrim, but that she failed to note this. How does that become important? Well... you may recall last year's kerfuffle over the new FTC "guidelines"
about paid endorsements online. While the cookie people don't specifically bring this up, it's certainly implied that Kardashian's paid sponsorship had something to do with her messages against the cookie people.
It's hard to see either side as being worth defending here, but sit back, grab a cookie and enjoy watching the legal arguments fly.