Breakups are hard on everyone, but every once in a while, a breakup is so bad the courts have to get involved.
In Vancouver, a man and woman broke up, but the man’s nightmare was just beginning. His ex-girlfriend began posting on social media that he had sexually transmitted diseases and was a cheater, which his attorneys have called defamatory. The ex-girlfriend had since been ordered to pay the man $200,000 in damages.
The couple, identified by local outlet Narcity as Brandon Rook and Noelle Halcrow, began dating in August 2015 but broke up later that month. They resumed their relationship in February 2016 and broke up a second time in July of that year. Though the relation lasted a total of seven months, Halcrow, according to the courts, started spreading rumors about Rook online just two months after the breakup. She proceeded to make such posts for the next year. From Narcity:
Her posts included things like “Known cheater, proud of it! STDs and spread them,” “Has STDs spreads them to people,” “No care or compassion For those that struggle with illness. No time for them or understanding,” “Drunk again !!,” according to the citation’s appendix.
Some of the hashtags that were commonly associated with the posts included #drunk, #loser, #stdspreader, #loserlife, #drunkagain, #uncaring, and the list continues.
The outlet reported that Halcrow posted even worse about Rook on several other websites. Halcrow claimed in court that she did not make the posts, but investigators found evidence that linked her computer to the posts and discovered text messages between her and Rook about the posts.
A Vancouver judge ordered Halcrow to pay Rook $175,000 in general damages and an additional $25,000 in aggravated damages. Rook ended up spending $30,000 to pay reputation consultants to undo the damage from Halcrow’s posts. He will receive compensation for that as well.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), reported that British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Elliot Myers found Halcrow’s “malicious” campaign to be “relentless.”
The outlet also reported that Halcrow made more than 85 posts about Rook, which were included in a timeline and appendix in the court ruling. The posts took up 44 pages of space when printed.
“Ms. Halcrow mounted a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive,” Myers ruled.
“The courts have recognized that the internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations. This is one such case,” the judge added.
Halcrow did not respond to CBC’s inquiry. Rook said through his lawyer that he wished to move on from the whole ordeal.
The National Post reported that Justice Myers rejected Halcrow’s claim that she did not make the posts based on four points:
The posts were made from online accounts created using her IP address,
Rooke was able to prove Halcrow had texted him numerous times about taking down the posts and threatening to put them up again,
The posts were remarkably similar to texts that she had sent,
And finally, that there was no one else who would be motivated to make the 92 offensive posts.