We are culturally deep in social media, and celebrities are in deepest, leading their lives online, sometimes to their detriment. Twitter libel lawsuits have existed for almost as long as the social network, and now pop singer Ciara is joining the club, suing her child's father, Future, for $15 million over his disparaging tweets.
Future, born Nayvadius Wilburn, has been very vocal about the couple's breakup since it happened in 2014, according to The Verge. But he is a mean tweeter, per Ciara, who wants the slings to stop, demanding also that he delete past defamatory tweets. Meanwhile, TMZ reports that sources close to Future said that the libel suit is a joke and that she is throwing stones at glass houses (well, it was TMZ so they said $15 million rocks at glass houses but you get the idea).
The Legal Basis
The law of defamation protects reputation; slander applies to spoken statements, while libel is the claim for written defamation. If a person knowingly makes a false, written statement that is published to third parties and causes damage to the reputation of another, that statement is defamatory and libelous and potentially compensable with monetary damages.
But famous people must show more than average folks when they make these claims, because ... well, the famous can expect to be defamed just a little bit. It goes with the territory. So in order for a public officer or figure to succeed in a defamation claim, the person must show an added element, that the defamatory statement or statements were made with actual malice, or mean intent.
Back to the Future Lawsuit
Future has reportedly made statements disparaging his ex and airing out child custody issues, as well as remarking on her current relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Now Ciara is asking a court to award her $15 million in damages for the disparaging remarks, and she wants Future to delete tweets that were false and put her in a bad light.
Will this move cause Future to reconsider his current tactics? Last month he tweeted complaints that Ciara was keeping him from his son, Future Jr., turning the social network into the family law network. Perhaps a legal slap on the wrist will change all this but for now Future is saying that she is off base and just as bad about badmouthing him, for example, in her hit single "I bet."