Monday, January 18, 2010

MTV Blogger Comes Dangerously Close to Libel, Ass-Kicking

Yes, steroids are a big story right now thanks to baseball and Mark McGwire. Personally, I am beyond caring about this. However, one MTV blogger decided to take this opportunity to write a tongue-in-cheek article about musicians he suspects as steroid users. His proof? In his own words: "Who needs it when you've got pure suspicion?" And just like that, we have problems.

Here's his take on the terrifying beast, Glenn Danzig, not the first person you really want to piss off:

Okay, so dude was pretty jacked even back in the Misfits days, but he's been so ripped for so long now that we can't help but be suspicious. At age 54, he's still rocking, and now bizarrely resembles Wolverine (and we all know that Adamantium is a banned substance).

Here's the issue though, you can't just print shit. The post does not expressly state that it is meant in good fun, so any number of these musicians could easily bring a claim for libel. The elements of libel are somewhat simple, although not necessarily easy to prove. Here are the elements:

1. The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant made a false and defamatory statement regarding the Plaintiff.
2. The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant made an unprivileged publication to a third party.
3. The Plaintiff must prove that the publisher acted at least negligently in publishing the communication.

So, does Glenn Danzig have a case?

1. The MTV blogger posted a story speculating that Glenn Danzig used steroids. If Glenn can prove he didn't, which only he knows for sure, this element is met.
2. The MTV blogger posted this story on MTV's website which reaches presumably millions of readers. No problem here.
3. MTV posted the story without so much as a hint, at least initially, that this was tongue-in-cheek. No verification was made into whether any of these musicians used steroids or not, it was just published.

There you go, a case for libel. The blogger apologized after The Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato called him out on it, but initially there was no sign that he was doing anything more than unfairly calling people out. You cannot just speculate something like that without some sort of ramifications. This is irresponsible at its best and libelous at its worst. The article was not retracted, it's still there. Good luck walking the streets at night, buddy. I wouldn't want to piss this man off:

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