Back when George Zimmerman was first arrested and accused of killing Trayvon Martin, director Spike Lee attempted to tweet the address of Zimmerman to his 240,000 followers for reasons that seem only to lean toward supporting the harassment of others.  Turns out that the address wasn’t Zimmerman’s, though that would have been appalling in its own right, it was the address of Elaine and David McClain, an elderly couple from Florida.  In other words, he tweeted the address of someone not even related to the case because he was upset over the incident.

The McClains say Lee’s tweet of their address encouraged “a dangerous mob mentality.”

The couple was forced into hiding because of death threats from unstable people who read Spike Lee’s tweet.  The supposed origin of the harassment tweet was a California man who sent the address to celebrities with the direction “repost this”.  Spike Lee has now asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit filed by the Florida couple.

Lee’s attorneys filed the dismissal motion arguing that a $10,000 settlement in 2012 should be enough money.  The McClains argue that the settlement covered damages up to the settlement date, but since then, they have suffered more because of his tweet, including the slew of threats they received after George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

“Plaintiffs suffered and continue to suffer mental anguish and distress,” the McClains attorneys said in the complaint, “…anxiety and fear.”

Lee’s attorneys also argue that if the case isn’t dismissed, it should be heard in federal court rather than state court due to possible local court prejudices against out-of-state defendants.  The complaint was filed in Florida court originally, but Lee had it moved to federal court.  A magistrate judge recommended that the case be returned to state court, but Lee has objected.

After Lee tweeted their address, he removed the tweet and apologized for the mistake.  Lee is being sued for negligence, which means that he failed to exercise reasonable care in the foreseeable harm that he allegedly caused the plaintiff.

“…At the time that Plaintiffs entered into the Settlement Agreement, it was well-known that it was possible for information posted on Twitter…to be retweeted in the future,” says Lee’s motion to dismiss, “Indeed, the Complaint alleges that it is easy to retweet information by simply clicking a button…For these reasons, to the extent that any of the unnamed individuals who posted the McClains’ address on Twitter in 2013…obtained that information from Mr. Lee’s 2012 retweet, such a consequence was eminently foreseeable when the Settlement Agreement was signed.”

Reports vary on the amount of damages the McClains are seeking for the additional harassment, anywhere from $10,000 to more than a $1 million.


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