I’m a little surprised to say that we have yet another Streisand Effect story involving NHL hockey players. The previous post had to do with a rookie hockey player who tried to trademark a nickname with some negative connotations to it in order to control how that nickname was being used. This one is a little bit different and, honestly, it sounds like the start to really bad joke: two hockey players and actress Elisha Cuthbert want an apology and cash from a sports station that aired a joke tweet about a love triangle between the three of them during the trade deadline coverage.
That’s the joke tweet. It was part of a rolling tweet embed that sports stations do all the time, instructing viewers to use a particular hashtag and then pulling those tweets and putting them on the air. This particular tweet, concerning the Toronto Mapleleafs’ Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf, and Phaneuf’s wife, who happens to be Elisha Cuthbert, probably would have made it past any automated filters the station, TSN, had set up. After all, there’s no obvious vulgar words or anything like that. So, whether such filters exist or not, the tweet pops up on air.
“On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday. We are sending a similar letter to the author of the tweet, Mr. Anthony Adragna.
It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did. If TSN and Mr. Adragna do not immediately comply with the demands set out in our letters, we have instructions from our clients to immediately commence a lawsuit against them. Our clients will not be discussing this matter with the media. Any questions should be directed to the undersigned.”
So, a couple of things here. First, it’s questionable how much validity a lawsuit against either party would be. The tweet itself is obviously a joke to anyone who bothers to read the wording of it, which makes a defamation case problematic. TSN has alreay issued an apology to the three of them and they clearly had no intention of defaming anyone at all.
But, finally, and most importantly, what the hell, you three? It was a flash of a joke tweet that was on a Toronto TV station for, like, a couple of seconds. But because you three freaked out about it and got the lawyers involved, there’s been national media attention on the very thing you wanted to erase from our collective consciousness to begin with. Talk about Streisanding your way towards the opposite goal.