NSW When does free speech end and defamation begin?

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Mobbed

Member
24 November 2017
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In a fit of anger, I recently posted something online in response to a group of people that were online-mobbing a friend of mine. I used some very strong language to rebuke his attackers, who openly identified themselves as left-wing gay men, and with some extra profanity, was how I described them.

My post was screen-captured and posted all over social media.

One individual actually composed an email and sent it to all my business partners going back ten years, explaining (out of context) that I am a homophobe and suggested that if they did not break ties with me, that they might be seen to share my views. The email also demanded that they shun me publicly.

Some did, and as a result, I have had to close my business.

Now ok, I made a stupid mistake, but I have a strong track record of non-homophobia (hiring and working with many gay people over the years). I have many gay friends.

While my words were strong, they were taken out of context. If I was being attacked by a group of crazy women, I could say "I'm being attacked by a group of crazy women" and not offend all women. If I'm being attacked by a group of left-wing gay men, I cannot describe the situation in the same way without offending all gay men, it seems.

My question is, at what point does one's punishment stop? Is writing one paragraph online in the heat of the moment deserving of an orchestrated mob attack to destroy your career?

In the case of the fellow who has been identified (with evidence) of emailing business partners and coercing them to shun me, do I have any legal case?

I have received numerous anonymous phone calls, hate messages and even death-threats.

Worse, this situation has destroyed my business.

And what about the wider connotations for free speech? Ok, I said something pretty nasty, but my remarks I could argue were not directed at named individuals, but at a mob at large, and therefore, free-speech.

These people have purposely named and shamed me, but have gone to extraordinary lengths to do so.

When does free speech become defamation? Or bullying?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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You may have a cause of action for both defamation and injurious falsehood. Suggest you see a lawyer that is experienced in this area.

If you do want to pursue this further start diarising and taking notes of everything that has happened, preferably in a some kind of chronological order.

All death threats should be reported to police.
 

Mobbed

Member
24 November 2017
2
0
1
You may have a cause of action for both defamation and injurious falsehood. Suggest you see a lawyer that is experienced in this area.

If you do want to pursue this further start diarising and taking notes of everything that has happened, preferably in a some kind of chronological order.

All death threats should be reported to police.

Thanks Rod!