Internet defamation is generally seen in the context of false statements published on actual websites or in emails. But online defamation also occurs through social media apps – and Instagram is no exception.
Back in the spring, we wrote about the issue of Instagram defamation and how to remove defamatory Instagram posts, making note of the pending litigation involving rapper The Game, brought by his children’s former nanny (whom he fired). Earlier this summer, an L.A. Superior Court judge issued a $200,000-plus default judgment against Jayceon Taylor (a.k.a. The Game), after he did not answer a defamation complaint brought by plaintiff Karen Monroe.
In June 2013, The Game published a long rant on Instagram about Monroe, who was formerly the nanny for The Game’s children. In these Instagram posts, the rapper published a number of critical statements about Monroe – alleged to be the reasons he fired her – including that she was allegedly “BUSTED” for having sex with her boyfriend at The Game’s house and that she allegedly “drinks heavily & smokes around the children.”
The rapper, a former Grammy-nominated artist, identified Monroe by name and included her picture and also her social media handles.
Although The Game later deleted the posts, they were widely seen by many of his 1.1 million followers. In fact, according to the lawsuit, Monroe – who has also worked with the likes of Kelis and Nas – alleged that the Instagram posts led to followers of the popular rapper’s account harassing her, including sending her death threats.
After The Game was served with the complaint, in which Monroe also alleged intentional infliction of distress, the rapper had 30 days to file a response with the Los Angeles County court. But he never answered the complaint.
Consequently, Monroe’s attorney sought an entry of default against the rapper and moved for a court judgment. On June 10, 2015, Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted Monroe’s motion and ordered that the rapper pay $200,627.
According to media reports, Monroe filed a declaration in support of her Motion, in which she proclaimed that “reputation is everything in the celebrity nanny business” and that the harmful statements published by The Game on Instagram has jeopardized her ability to find similar work. Monroe’s default judgment packet also included a declaration from a psychologist about the emotional distress she suffered.
This has been touted in the media as being among the first Instagram-related defamation cases, or at least it was among the first in the public eye, given the identity of the defendant and the resulting media coverage. Last year, The Game’s former friend-turned-rival, 50 Cent, was sued for defamation on Instagram. The plaintiff quickly dropped the lawsuit after unfavorable evidence surfaced.