Texan couple charged with flagrant foul to photographer on Facebook, forced to pay over $1M
posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT
If you've hired a wedding photographer and it didn't work out to your satisfaction, and you have the urge to go on an online hate campaign, you might want to think again. In a recent court ruling in Dallas, Texas, local wedding photographer Andrea Polito was recently awarded $1.08 million as a result of a defamation lawsuit she launched against formal bridal clients Neely and Andrew Moldovan, the result of a years-long online campaign to destroy the photographer's reputation.
The couple hired Polito in 2014 to photograph their wedding, and shortly thereafter, began asking for hi-resolution photographs. When Polito didn't immediately release the photographs, citing conditions in the wedding photography contract, that's when things started to break down. The Moldovans took to local news and social media, claiming Polito was holding their images hostage, and almost immediately Polito's business and reputation began to suffer. After months of news coverage, negative social media, and fake 1-star reviews on Yelp, Polito decided to file a defamation lawsuit against the Moldovans.
This ruling should certainly serve notice to the notion that while social media is commonly considered as "social" in its traditional usage, it is still a public forum and therefore subject to laws governing slander and defamation assaults. Of course, to both photographers and paying customers alike, this should also strengthen the advice to seek clarity in your mutual negotiations before signing the contract.
(Seen via Dallas Morning New)