George Zimmerman’s Parents Are Suing Roseanne Barr For Tweeting Their Address
Yesterday, USA Today reported that another lawsuit has been filed that involves the keywords “Twitter”, “George Zimmerman”, “address” and “Privacy”. Just before Thanksgiving, we reported about the film director Spike Lee, who’s being sued for negligence after he tweeted the address of a different George Zimmerman, inadvertently sending an angry mob to the home of a terrified elderly couple.
This time, it’s comedienne Roseanne Barr facing the legal action, for tweeting out the address of (the real) George Zimmerman’s parents during that highly charged period prior to Zimmerman’s arrest:
The lawsuit, filed Monday, said the comedian, activist and 2012 presidential candidate published their identities, address and phone number March 29, 2012.
“At first I thought it was good to let ppl know that no one can hide anymore,” Barrwrote.
She subsequently deleted that tweet.
Barr later tweeted, “If Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll rt his address again — maybe go 2 his house myself.”
George Zimmerman had not lived at the house in Lake Mary, Fla., since 2006, though his named remained on the title until 2008, the suit states.
In the complaint, the Zimmermans claim that “[i]mmediately after the initial tweet members of the news media descneded on” the home, forcing them into hiding, and that they “have not been able to return to live in the house”. Additionally, they suggest that Barr violated Twitter’s terms and conditions, which prohibits the posting or publishing of “other people’s… street address… without their express authorization and permission.”
The first count in the complaint is for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: they describe Barr’s tweets as “an open and obvious call for vigilante justice… intended… to cause a lynch mob to descend on [the] home”, which “went beyond all possible bounds of decency and [are] utterly intolerable in a civilized community”. The other count is for Invasion of Privacy, where the plaintiffs assert that there “was no legitimate concern of the public” in their address, and that they are not public figures.
This case will likely get a lot of attention, and may affect how celebrities – or anyone, really – use Twitter when passions are running high.