Special offer
Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (Samson Properties / LIC in VA)

Spam prevention
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Defamation should carry stiff penalties. Freedom of speech is not a free pass for public character assassination, at least not in my opinion.

Aug 02, 2017 04:20 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

There is a difference between free speech and harassment. This couple failed to read their contract and then attempted to destroy this woman's business. It's childish and I'm glad they lost.

Aug 02, 2017 06:46 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I think a lot more people need to meet the business end of a civil suit for it to sink in that freedom of speech does not permit you to assault the character of people that you disagree with. It also sounds to me like in the article the couple who hired the photographer basically wanted their pictures handed to them for free, and were mad because they didn't get their way.

Aug 02, 2017 04:48 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Absolutely not, Jeff! Glad they were penalized as they should have been!

Aug 02, 2017 05:49 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

In other words, does Freedom of Speech allow someone to act like an idiot ?

Aug 02, 2017 05:31 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

What Marco Giancola said. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Aug 02, 2017 04:22 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Jeff Pearl The Jury spoke! Public shaming should have paid consequences.

Aug 02, 2017 06:20 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

That is a big NO in my book yet so many do this and claim 1st amendment rights. Businesses and people are fighting back 

Aug 02, 2017 05:28 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

From what I have heard, the test is the truth of the speech.

Aug 02, 2017 09:53 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

I like the succinct answer provided by Marco Giancola 

Aug 02, 2017 06:42 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Freedom of speech does not include defamation! There are limits!

Aug 02, 2017 05:27 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

I'm so with Marco Giancola comments.

Aug 02, 2017 05:17 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

The law has it's challenges on Free Speech. I go negative with facts, as opinion may get you in hot water these days with cyber-bully policies. For example we had a cyber-bully clown in The Rain last week and he was shown the AR door. But, I've had opposing fact based opinions post on my blogs and I can appreciate that. Debate is how we learn and it's a lost art in our PC world.

Aug 02, 2017 04:50 AM
Peter Mohylsky, Destin BeachPro
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

This is a slippery slope and I have an opinion which might not be main stream.

Aug 02, 2017 03:56 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

There is a difference between expressing your opinion (free speech) and trying deliberately to ruin someone's business with derogatory comments.

Aug 02, 2017 03:45 PM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

When defamation and injury results; No.

Aug 02, 2017 12:18 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Ridiculous what people do these days.  I vote with Nathan Gesner.

Aug 02, 2017 11:57 AM
Caroline Gerardo
Licensed in 20 states - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

That couple was plain mean. The wife used the shaming of the photographer to boost her own business. I hope they pay the judgment 

Aug 02, 2017 11:19 AM
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

People just need to mind their manners.  If they don't like something, reach out privately.  Sounds like bullying to me.

Aug 02, 2017 09:59 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Freedom of speech and inflicting harm are two totally different things.  All speech should be free, but that doesn't mean you won't suffer consequences if you damage someone as a result.  

We are all free to jump off the roofs of our houses at any time as well. 

Aug 02, 2017 09:49 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     The internet, with its reviews and its trolls, has re-defined the concept, "Free Speech does not include the right to yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater".

Aug 02, 2017 08:12 AM
Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTAcondos.com
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Freedom of speech and Defamation of character are two different things.  Just be careful what you put out there, it can come back to bite you in the rear.

Aug 02, 2017 07:52 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I have heard of an instance where that is happening in our midst.  To prove defamation is an arduous and expensive road.  It also taxes one's time and emotional well being.  

Freedom of speech does not give the right for anyone to present half truths or slanted information that does harm to another.  A

Aug 02, 2017 07:38 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. That couple deserved what they got.

Aug 02, 2017 07:35 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Defamation issue aside, many people confuse Bullying for Freedom Of Speech.

Aug 02, 2017 07:18 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

IMO it depends... the use of the defame is a legal title, was the person actually defamed or was the commenter stating their opion or fact?

We live in a time of slippery slope and this PC garbage is way out of hand

At the same time, falsifying or lying about someone also should be brought to light and dealt with accordingly

Aug 02, 2017 07:13 AM
Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula
House Match Inc - Poway, CA
Excellent Sales and Property Management

I think negative comments in reviews should be factual based and onlyh written if you can verify that the vendro in questions is acting unethically.

For example, if the contract stated the fee is $500 and then they charged you $1200 for no addtioanal time or service, you could indicate this. 

I try to give only positive comments hoping to sway people to the good people I encounter.

written contracts help in any situation

Aug 02, 2017 07:08 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I was so happy to see the end result of this couple's hand in destroying the photographer's business;  sure, everyone wants "free" speech until the result of that free speech is no longer "free." 

Anyone can say what they want, but they better be able to handle the consequences. Nothing more than adult bullies in this particular case.

Aug 02, 2017 07:01 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Freedom  doesnt include anything outside of the virtues/morals of character

Aug 02, 2017 06:22 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Coldwell Banker Realty

Marco Giancola nailed this one!

Aug 02, 2017 05:44 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

People are free to say whatever they want, but they should be held liable for their words and actions.

Aug 02, 2017 05:23 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

ditto to what Marco Giancola said....

Aug 02, 2017 05:08 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Not a wise decision in my state s it may lead to an arrest or at least a civil suit

Aug 02, 2017 03:58 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

This should not be tolerated, and glad there are stiff penalties.

Aug 04, 2017 09:28 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

No. Defamation isn't legal. Freedom of Speech isn't freedom from consequences of that speech (i.e. yelling "Fire!" in a theater).

Aug 03, 2017 05:53 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Jeff Pearl - as much as it is a freedom of a speech, it is also a freedom to take legal action - even when one is on the wrong side!

This system eventually costs the tax-payers!

Aug 02, 2017 09:50 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

There is a freedom of speech and there is a marketing strategy. Some people will do everything for a moment of fame( even if it is negative). 

Aug 02, 2017 07:30 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel


Aug 02, 2017 05:59 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

If I do not have anything nice to say about someone, I pass on saying anything!


Aug 02, 2017 04:48 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Jeff Pearl There are differences between Freedom of Speech and intentionally defaming a person.

Aug 02, 2017 01:50 PM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide


Aug 02, 2017 08:51 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

I am with Marco Giancola on this.  People find it too easy to bang out their frustration on the keyboard and post it for the World to see without any consideration for the impact on others.  It's terrible how much damage one person can do. 

Aug 02, 2017 08:47 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
https://HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

That really sucks for her!

Freedom of speech does not mean you can falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theater.  This couple (most likely mainly the wife) just wanted to be hurtful.  I'm glad they lost and hopefully that 1m judgement has a good impact on them.


It's stuff like this that is why I don't allow comments most places and where I do, they have to be moderated.

Aug 02, 2017 08:46 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing the links.

Aug 02, 2017 05:46 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

One mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist.

As long as anonymous sources are allowed shame, intimidation, negative comments and defamation are inevitable. Anonymous and fake...I wonder if they are related.

In cases such as these the one who can afford the most justice, prevails.

Aug 02, 2017 05:33 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

This is why we have laws covering slander and defamation of character.

Aug 02, 2017 05:01 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Yes this was a good test case & the trolls of the world beware. 

Aug 02, 2017 04:53 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

There is always a line people can cross that can become slander.

Aug 02, 2017 04:51 AM