The NHL playoffs are underway – and so is an Internet defamation legal battle initiated by notorious NHL GM, Brian Burke. The former Toronto Maple Leafs executive is suing over insinuations that he and Sportsnet anchor, Hazel Mae, had an affair — (which 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 the NHL season started, the Maple Leaf management booted notoriously blunt general manager Brian Burke. Most assumed his ousting was a result of the failed Luongo trade. Several bloggers, however, tied Burke’s termination to an extra marital affair with a TV sport’s reporter Hazel Mae. And word on the digital street was that Mae birthed 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. Most legal watchers agree: The suit may have exacerbated the gossip.
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.”
Hazel Mae 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 offending material. A cached copy of at least one of the webpages, however, supposedly contains the words “speculation” and “rumors.”
In addition to monetary damages, Burke is seeking injunctions. He also wants court orders to uncover the names of anonymous posters.