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Leafs legal action shows pitfalls of social media

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Joffrey Lupul (19) celebrates his goal with Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski (84) as Boston Bruins defenseman Wade Redden (6) retrieves the puck during the second period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Boston, May 4, 2013. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Elise Amendola

Social media is often a place to post pictures of home-cooked meals, #OOTD or personal opinions. But it can also end up leaving users with defamation lawsuits.

Earlier this week during the NHL trade deadline, TSN aired an inflammatory fan tweet about Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert and forward Joffrey Lupul.

Since then, Lupul’s Instagram account became filled with comments regarding the original tweet.

Lupul responded to one Instagram user saying, “How’s your legal representation?” and suggesting Lupul’s people will be in touch. CityNews reached out to Lupul’s lawyer Peter A. Gall of Gall Legge Grant & Monroe LLP for a comment by phone and email, but has yet to hear back.

The social media conversation between Lupul and the Instagram user quickly turned towards the topic of a fight. Lupul posted “Love to tough guy. After the suit I’ll fight you anywhere anytime — for charity.”

Toronto Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul responds on Instagram comments on Wednesday.  SOURCE: Instagram/jlupul
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul responds to Instagram comments on Wednesday. SOURCE: Instagram/jlupul

The tweet that sparked this debacle appeared on the bottom of the screen during the NHL trade deadline by TSN. The image was then circulated around websites and social media.

“In spite of TSN’s protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run,” TSN said in a statement that was reported by The Canadian Press.

An apology was read on-air by TSN host James Duthie on Tuesday night and the apology was prominently posted on the network’s website.




Following the inflammatory fan tweet, Gall of Gall Legge Grant & Monroe LLP sent a letter to TSN demanding it “issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients,” according to a statement. Gall, who represents the two Leafs and Cuthbert, also mentioned that he was sending a similar letter to Anthony Adragna, the author of the tweet.

The tweet was later deleted by Adragna, The Canadian Press reported. Lupul took to Twitter to comment on TSN’s actions saying: