Colleen Devanney, a partner in the Vorys Cincinnati office and the co-leader of the firm’s internet defamation group, was quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer story titled “How An Online Callout Cost 2 OTR Bar Workers Their Jobs.”
The story was about two employees at Over-the-Rhine's MOTR Pub, who were called out on Facebook by a local resident. She wrote they were known sexual predators but did not provide details. After negative reviews and posts on Facebook, the bar and music venue announced the two employees were no longer employed.
The story states:
“Free speech has been a huge part of this country’s history,’ Devanney said. ‘With the advent of the internet, even in the past five years, it has completely changed how people communicate and how free speech is spoken and heard.’
Devanney said the 1996 Communications Decency Act protect sites like Facebook from being held liable for statements made by users. So anyone who suspects defamation must pursue the individuals who made the statement.
‘Anything in the middle gets hard. There’s no black, there’s no white, there’s just a ton of gray,’ Devanney said. ‘The law has not caught up to the advent of the internet or the speed at which word-of-mouth travels.”
To read the entire story, visit the Cincinnati Enquirer website.