Court Says That Tweeting Someone Is 'F**king Crazy' Is Not Libelous

from the a-fucking-good-ruling dept

There have been a number of libel cases popping up over the past few years where random insults on Twitter are turned into full blown court cases. Tragically, these cases have picked up the "twibel" name -- a neologism that seems silly and pointless. Still, it's good to see that courts appear to (mostly) be recognizing that random insults shouldn't be considered libelous. Venkat Balasubramani has the details of a recent ruling (where both parties represented themselves!), in which a court recognized that saying on Twitter that someone is "fucking crazy" isn't libelous, especially as part of a "heated" online discussion. I won't get into the details of the case, other than that it involves a horse named Munition, but here's the Court's discussion:
The tweet cannot be read in isolation, but in the context of the entire discussion. In this case, the tweet was made as part of a heated Internet debate about plaintiff’s responsibility for the disappearance of her horse. Furthermore, it cannot be read literally without regard to the way in which a reasonable person would interpret it.

The phrase “Mara Feld . . . is fucking crazy,” when viewed in that context, cannot reasonably be understood to state actual facts about plaintiff’s mental state. It was obviously intended as criticism—that is, as opinion—not as a statement of fact. The complaint therefore cannot base a claim of defamation on that statement
Of course, as Eric Goldman amusingly notes at the end of Venkat's post, "bringing a defamation lawsuit over tweets is almost always fucking crazy," reminding us that it will almost certainly reinforce the association between the phrase and the person who brought the lawsuit, Mara Feld.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Trevor, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:17am

    Well

    Ms. Feld and Ms. Conway are fucking crazy for representing themselves...

    It could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    Hold your horses!

    As we say in Portuguese the plaintiff can take her little horse out of the rain.

    Semantics: give up pretensions (take the little horse out of the rain)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Re: Well

    Yeah, exchange the order and they could turn it into a crazy sexual affair!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Well

    Well there was a horse involved I suppose that would make for a crazy sexual affair...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    zip, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    I'm curious to see if typing in "Mara Feld" in Google will soon have Autocomplete add "is fucking crazy."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 1:22pm

    I wonder if the plaintiff cringed when reading the 'offending phrase' - which was three times in the very brief ruling :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 4:44pm

    Mickey Mouse Goes To Court

    Judge: "Mr. Mouse, are you saying you want a divorce from Minnie because she's insane?"
    Mickey: "I didn't say she's insane. I said she's f**king Goofy!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well

    Did the horse have no name?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 16th, 2014 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Well

    With that sexually loaded comment I suspect you've been looking at too many tweets by US Air and are going fucking crazy for want of vise versa :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 7:26pm

    Re:

    Four months later, just in case anyone cares: no. No autocomplete suggestions for extending that search term are provided.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Jimmy, Jan 31st, 2015 @ 12:27pm

    name calling

    I guess you can use that name, f*crazy, as much as you want because you can extort the most with it. Or its about the one that needs a name though using that one gives him cause to f* kill people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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