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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    4

    Unhappy Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Michigan

    I apologize about putting my question here, but I could not find another forum that dealt with my issue. I used to work as an actor with the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly. Not to name names of individual people, but both management staff and other actors have been involved in this. Most of the harassment stems from a former friend of mine (a direct co-worker I was with all the time) who basically got everyone else on her side once I left the festival, but it now also includes lots of other employees who have jumped on her bandwagon.

    During my time there from 2004-2007, I was always treated with a lot of disrespect (typical theater attitudes) but when I tried to handle my concerns in an adult fashion by sitting down and logically working through problems with the management, I was not given the chance to tell my side of the story, and attempts at meeting with the entertainment director on a one-on-one basis was always blocked. She was always either busy, out of the state, or not taking calls. I eventually gave up and decided that my best option, for my peace of mind, was do do what everyone else in a similar situation does: I quit. I thought that once I severed all legal ties to the organization that the harassment would stop. It didn't. Just before I quit, I stopped being able to login to my email account. It was only after the fact that I learned that several disparaging emails were sent to various members of the staff under my name, calling them expletives, etc. Ordinarily, when friends of mine have had their accounts hacked, they were able to explain it to people and they understood. In my case, however, nobody was willing to hear me out. The next thing that happened is that someone put together an unofficial cast website and put my name on it, and the site supposedly "talked down" on a particular actress's fictional character (?) I never saw the site but later got an email from the entertainment director once I got back into my account - she ordered me to take the site down. It was in this email that the director asked me to either resign or be fired. To this day, everyone believes that I was fired. Not true. Regarding the site, I said I had nothing to do with it, and this was the first thing I'd heard of it. Once again, accusations with no basis of reference.

    Between 2007 and the present day (a span of 5 years and counting) I have had no professional dealings with the festival. When I attend with family and friends as a paying customer, I am super-polite to the staff and ANY cast member that I run into. However, left to her own devices, my back stabbing former friend literally ran havoc with my good name, trashing me to anyone and everyone who would listen. In 2008, before I realized the extent of the damage to my reputation, I was in the process of starting up my own costume sewing business, when I started running into people I used to be slightly friendly with while working at the festival, who basically told me in outright that nobody was going to buy anything from me in this state. Of course, attempts at delving deeper to get people to answer as to why this was, I was shut down. I cannot understand why and how one person could hold so much influence over others, with no just cause or evidence to back up her claims.

    Between 2008 and 2010, I had my business website, Etsy shop, two Facebook accounts, and another email HACKED. There is only one person in this world who is so hateful and spiteful enough to go to these lengths to stop me from being heard - problem is, she also has an advanced network of loyal cronies who do her bidding and yes, this includes two ex-boyfriends who are computer networking geniuses. In 2011, I attended the festival in costume for the first time in ages, and while I was sitting on a park bench at the gateway, waiting alone, for my family to show up, I was approached by the new entertainment director, who is a CLOSE personal friend of this girl, who did this:

    He sees me. Approaches, looking around, like he's being watched. Sits down, still hasn't said a word. Waits, looking around, then says this. "Are we going to have any problems out of you this year?" I calmly replied, "How so? I don't really quite understand." He said that I "was accused of calling several ladies of the court (queen's court) whores." I said, "I'm sorry, no, I did not, I have no problems with anyone, however, my accounts have been hacked recently." Which is true, my Facebook account was hacked in October of 2010 and then a few more times after that. He basically kept acting shady and eventually said, "okay well, glad we cleared things up" and then walked away like nothing happened. On the advice of a lawyer friend of mine, I immediately called the management office but was told it would have to wait until MOnday because weekends the general manager was busy with running the festival. I did call back on Monday, I asked point-blank (but very politely) if Mr. Entertainment Director had been instructed by Ms. General Manager to have a discussion with me about my potential behavior at festival, which, I added, had been very polite and involved witnesses to the fact. She said no, he had in fact not been instructed to say anything to me, and that she would have a talk with him."

    The harassment has slowed after that but is still ongoing.

    Please advise, as I am now considering moving to another state and literally cutting all ties with people I know here.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    15,885

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    To this day, everyone believes that I was fired.
    So? What real life impact has this had on your job opportunities? What actual, quantifiable damages have arisen from this?

    Between 2008 and 2010, I had my business website, Etsy shop, two Facebook accounts, and another email HACKED. There is only one person in this world who is so hateful and spiteful enough to go to these lengths to stop me from being heard - problem is, she also has an advanced network of loyal cronies who do her bidding and yes, this includes two ex-boyfriends who are computer networking geniuses.
    What proof do you have, outside of prior drama?

    Please advise, as I am now considering moving to another state and literally cutting all ties with people I know here.
    What, exactly, are you looking for here? You're complaining of drama among theater people, essentially. You think that's bad? Try getting involved in the SCA instead of just Faire. Yeesh.

    You've not been able to show any quantifiable damages, and no proof of who hacked you. Cut ties and move on.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    Quote Quoting lawresearchermissy
    View Post
    so? What real life impact has this had on your job opportunities? What actual, quantifiable damages have arisen from this?

    Loss of revenue.


    What proof do you have, outside of prior drama?

    My accounts being hacked



    what, exactly, are you looking for here? You're complaining of drama among theater people, essentially. You think that's bad? Try getting involved in the sca instead of just faire. Yeesh.

    They are just as bad as sca.

    You've not been able to show any quantifiable damages, and no proof of who hacked you. Cut ties and move on.
    they interfere with my ability to run my business.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
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    25,222

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    In what manner?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,885

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    ...and again, what PROOF do you have that it was the people you are complaining about? Actual evidence, not simply "they were mean to me at Faire and their boyfriends are good with computers". Server logs traceable to them? What?

    You can't just point a finger and sue. Well, you can, but on your wages? It will take you years to save up the retainer fee alone, and no sensible attorney is going to put him or herself out there on your behalf without solid evidence.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    71,767

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    If somebody hacked your accounts, you should have made a timely report to the police, and should have investigated with the various accounts to determine if it was possible to track the hackers via IP address or other identifying information they might have obtained. If you chose not to take action back in 2010, odds are any trail is long gone. Check with your webhosts.

    In terms of people saying mean things about you four, five years ago, the statute of limitations for defamation in Michigan is one year - you knew about the statements back then so, if you had anything worthy of a defamation case based upon what happened way back then, it looks like you missed your chance. If you can prove that the allegations are still being made, who is making them, and that they are causing you to suffer an economic loss, you can consult a lawyer about any claims that may still be actionable. Given that a typical defamation case involves high litigation costs and low damages awards, meaning that most are money-losing propositions, we can't promise you that you'll find a lawyer who will work on anything but an hourly basis. You won't know until you ask around.

    Somebody approaching you, relating that you've supposedly insulted some people, and asking if there will be any trouble? Not harassment. That's the worst thing that's happened in the past @18 months since your account was hacked? The only thing?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    First, to be clear, it has nothing to do with civil rights. Violation of civil rights are under color of law. There has to be a state actor. You are talking about state torts, however, you have neither a viable claim, damages or any way of proving the torts. Waste of time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    There was no forum for "Libel and Slander" when I posted this. It is very clear to me that this site is filled with nothing more than flamers and trolls, no one willing to set their egos aside for two seconds and give a person actual advice. I will be sure to let other posters know that you guys are all trolls. Have a fantastic day!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    16,119

    Default Re: Libel, Slander, and Defamation on the Part of a Former Employer and Co-Workers

    Translation: I didn't get the answer I wanted and no one said "oh you poor baby how dreadful that they did this to you". Therefore, since it can't possibly be that I was wrong about how the law worked, it must be that no one responding on the forum knows the answer.

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