Should Courtney Love Be Sued for Twitter Trash Talk?

Courtney Love’s Twitter account has landed her in legal hot water, thanks to a past tirade against fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir. This marks the first high-profile defamation case based on a celebrity’s Twitter, and tweeters in a position to be sued should definitely be paying attention to the outcome.

Love (long known for the bizarre rants she's posted on Twitter) went off on the Texas-based fashion designer on March 17, 2009, accusing her of drug use, prostitution, assault and battery, and capitalizing on Love’s fame.

“She has received a VAST amount of money from me over 40,000 dollars and I do not make people famous and get raped TOO!” Love tweeted.

Ever classy, Love also called Simorangkir a “nasty, lying hosebag thief.”

The tweets have since been deleted, but the entire exchange has resulted in a lawsuit that will go to trial in a Los Angeles court on January 18.


Understatement of the year: Love isn't exactly known for her online decorum. Last August, she launched an epic Twitter screed against her own daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Two months later, she briefly quit Twitter after "accidentally" posting revealing photos of herself, which were supposedly intended for an unnamed lover.

So should her freaky midnight ramblings be taken seriously? Love’s legal team doesn't think so, as they've included a medical expert who plans to testify that her mental state at the time of her Twitter meltdown was not “subjectively malicious," and defamation was not her intent.

The case may possibly establish Twitter as something so addictive and immediate, defamation via tweeting is impossible—since users have no real idea how their posts might be interpreted.

However, at least one expert thinks otherwise. Beverly Hills-based attorney Barry R. Edwards told,

"Persons who use Twitter know that they are getting access to the public in the same manner as others who have access to the print media. Therefore their actions should be held to the same standard that applies to the news media."

I tend to agree with Mr. Edwards. As of this writing, Love has nearly 90,000 followers. Whether defamation was the intent or not (and I think this would depend entirely on whether or not Ms. Simorangkir was in fact a violent druggie hooker), whatever Love has to say is being read by a shitload of people. If she could be sued over, say, ranting against someone in a magazine interview, she should be able to be sued for doing the same thing via Twitter.

The real question is, who actually declined to do business with a fashion designer based on what Courtney Love had to say?

What do you think, does this case have legs?

Image via Twitter

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