Example of libel….

Check out this article by Sera Davidow: https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/02/asist-suicide-prevention-training/

I like the article but I don’t believe it was even legal to publish it because in it, Sera dissed other conference attendees. I think her criticism of the ASIST program is really good, but it is not okay to badmouth the other attendees in the way she did.

There is a fine line here. You can legally talk about your own experience. You can say what happened, what you saw, what you witnessed. It is legal to expose abuse when you see it. It’s not legal to reveal personal information about a person that isn’t already public.

I learned this in writing school. Most of it I gleaned during graduate school. While I have named Maria Mellano, any personal information about her that isn’t already public I left out. For instance, my mention of her inappropriate way of dressing is not libel, because you can see that boob crack in her public photo, which is on her website and in other places.

If I mention other patients I disguise their identity. I have used composite characters to ensure the privacy of patients. Yes, you can do this in memoir! I do not name them, or I give them fake names. I might name them if they died from psych treatment, though, because I hope to expose what happened and pinpoint the cause. I do this in the name of justice.

I might call someone by their first name but if it’s an uncommon name I will not. If I use a real name such as Debbie, I do not give out any other identifiers or I alter them to make “Debbie” look like she could be any “Debbie.”

While I did mention my former bullying supervisor, Marquita, by name, I know this is okay because I didn’t reveal anything personal about her. She is known figure at that workplace and anything I said was known there, or was a general understanding. I know I am helping other people by talking about workplace belittling, since some folks don’t realize that belittling isn’t okay.

I think that Sera went overboard to poke fun at the other attendees. I don’t think it was appropriate and I don’t think MIA should have let this pass through the editorial screening. Of course, Sera is one of their pets so they publish most anything she sends them. An awful lot of us are disgusted. Never mind the grammatical error in the title. It should be “whom” not “who.” Geez.


7 thoughts on “Example of libel….”

    1. Thing is, if you talk about a public figure whose personal info is already known, such as discussion of their divorce which might be plastered all over the popular mags already, it’s legal. But with that you have to be careful, too, since the info could have been illegally obtained.

      It’s a fine line. I see it as moral duty to be a whistleblower. This means possible sacrifice of my safety, but I do this to help other people.

      1. How about when they show some film footage and make up a narrative like they did with the boys from the Catholic school. That whole story was complete BS and many stations never checked the facts??. Luckily there was more than one Camera filming.

        1. I honestly wouldn’t have a clue. I have not watched TV in over 20 years. I think I pre-date MSNBC even.

Feedback and comments welcome!