In a potentially precedent-setting trial, Courtney Love is being sued for talking shit on Twitter, specifically a series of comments directed at fashion designer Dawn Simonrangkir (a.k.a the "Boudoir Queen"), who claims that Love’s tweets—including allegations that Simonrangkir is “a drug-pushing prostitute with a history of assault and battery who lost custody of her own child and capitalized on Love’s fame before stealing from her”—amount to career-damaging defamation.
Love and Simonrangkir had a falling out in 2009 over a few thousand dollars worth of clothes, which prompted Love, naturally, to process her feelings about the matter on every available social platform, including her Twitter feed, the Etsy.com forums, and on MySpace (which Love and approximately 5,000 screamo bands are currently keeping alive). In one tweet, Love reportedly scrawled, “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!” (only, you know, probably with a lot more misspellings and random semicolons and the like).
An attorney for Simonrangkir argues that the comments, seen by Love’s approximately 40,000 followers, “destroyed his client’s fashion career,” entitling her to potential millions in restitution. The case, it seems, is based on the idea that “Love’s influence as a fashion icon, of sorts” means that “Love was enough of a trendsetter to effectively kill her reputation.” Because so many people take their cues from Courtney Love. Pursuant to that, Simonrangkir plans to bring in a “social media expert” to testify as to “what kind of credibility is given to statements made on a casual forum like Twitter”—which seems like a set-up for a “have O.J. try on the glove” sort of backfire, considering we’re talking about Courtney Love here, but whatever.
Love has already given a deposition in which she argued that she was only repeating on Twitter what she’d heard from Simonrangkir herself—obviously, Simonrangkir denies that—and while the whole “you’re a drug-addled mess who lost custody of her child and who has a history of capitalizing on other people’s fame” could likely be settled with a citation of Pot v. Kettle, the case will, interestingly enough, most likely come down to what’s being called “an insanity defense for social media.” Love’s team of witnesses reportedly includes a medical expert who will testify that Love’s mental state at the time of her tweets was not “subjectively malicious,” and that “Twitter was so appealing and addictive for Love that she had no appreciation for how the comments she posted would be received by others.” We’re no experts, but the argument that Courtney Love clearly has no idea that the insane shit she posts on Twitter is being read by actual people outside of her own brain seems to be the sort of defense those in the legal profession call “airtight.”