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Lady Themis
Lady Themis, Internet Researcher
Category: General
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Today, on a local radio station--on air---I was referred to

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Today, on a local radio station--on air---I was referred to as a "hothead" a "troublemaker," was advised to "take the wax out of my ears" and was labeled vocall by an additional radio show host as "the problem/what is wrong (negative) with the city (Amsterdam, NY)," of which I reside in. When I called the radio station in rubuttal, the radio show personality in question, being extremely irate interjected/cut into the telephone conversation I was having with another person at the radio station, and asked me straight out "if I had a problem with him" and threatened to "f'in knock me out/knock my block off". Before i could get a word in, he hung up the telephone. Are his words, broadcast over radio, in earshot of thousands---slanderous remarks and subject to litigation?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

 

These statements likely would not constitute valid grounds for a defamation action. New York and other states recognize as a defense to defamation actions certain privileges, including the opinion and fair statement privilege. This privilege protects the right of the speaker to make opinion statements. Opinion statements are statements that can't be proven true or false.

 

It is possible that labeling a person a "hothead" or "troublemaker" implies some type of false underlying facts. In that way, there is potential for an action in defamation.

 

Additionally, when a plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit is a private figure and the allegedly statements relate to a matter of legitimate public concern, the plaintiff must prove that the speaker acted "in a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties." Chapadeau v. Utica Observer-Dispatch, 38 N.Y.S.2d 196, 199 (N.Y. 1975). This can be a difficult standard. If the matter is not a matter of public concern, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the speaker spoke negligently.

 

I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck to you.

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