The NHL playoffs are underway – and so is an Internet defamation legal battle initiated by notorious GM, Brian Burke. The former Toronto Maple Leafs executive is suing over insinuations that he and Sportsnet anchor, Hazel Mae, had an affair. An affair that allegedly produced an heir.
In addition to monetary damages, Burke wants to unmask 18 anonymous online commentators and bar them from posting defamatory content in the future.
Brian Burke’s Internet Defamation Lawsuit: The Background
A few days before this year’s NHL season started, notoriously blunt NHL general manager Brian Burke – who favors “belligerence” and “truculence” – got booted from the Toronto Maple Leafs management team. Most assumed his ousting was a result of the failed Luongo trade. Several bloggers, however, attributed Burke’s canning to an extra marital affair with a TV sport’s reporter Hazel Mae.
Word on the digital street was that Mae had Burke’s baby.
Brian Burke’s Internet Defamation Lawsuit: Did He Exacerbate The Situation
Though the Burke-Mae gossip wasn’t widely publicized – hardly headline news – Burke filed a defamation claim in British Columbia Superior Court. Most legal watchers and attorneys agree that Burke exacerbated the gossip by doing so.
That said, filing a formal complaint allows Burke to publicly denounce the accusations. According to Burke, he chose the defamation lawsuit route “to stop people who post comments on the Internet from thinking they can fabricate wild stories with impunity.”
As for Hazel Mae, she supports Burke’s lawsuit and, like him, “feels strongly that people should be held accountable for writing and spreading malicious lies over the Internet.”
Even Though The Bloggers Removed The Material, The Internet Defamation Case Is Still A Go
Since news of the lawsuit broke, several targeted bloggers removed the allegedly offending material. A cached copy of at least one of the web pages, however, supposedly contains the words “speculation” and “rumors.”
In addition to monetary damages, Burke is seeking injunctions. According to reports, he also wants court orders to uncover the names of anonymous posters.
Are you in need of an attorney who focuses on Internet defamation? Get in touch with Kelly Warner Law today.