By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sexual Harassment is illegal, so is defamation.
It sounded like a cliché: a Wall Street financier had an affair with a 25 year old Swedish intern. When the affair ended, things turned ugly. He began contacting her incessantly, blogged about the intern, whom he named, and called a “party girl”–and when she fled back to Sweden, tracked her down to her worksite in Stockholm and threatened her. Dude, get a hold of yourself!
She sued him and won $18 million dollars. Of that money, the jury awarded her three times as much money for defamation because of what he’d blogged and said about her than for the sexual harassment itself. It happens a lot that relationships end badly, whether they involve sexual harassment or not—those involved want to rant. But since people don’t a diary with a key under the pillow anymore, they blog. And when others read that, it harms the subject’s reputation and ability to earn a living, which is the definition of defamation.
So here’s another cliché for you: if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t blog about it or it will cost you dearly.