A judge will decide this week which court will hear the lawsuit against Spike Lee over his tweet that gave out the wrong address for George Zimmerman.
As we all know, Zimmerman is responsible for shooting and killing unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin. The social media uproar that followed included a lot of anger and vitriol.
On March 23, 2012, Lee tweeted: “George Zimmerman … ” followed by a Florida address. However, the address posted was actually that of an elderly couple that lives 15 miles away from Zimmerman.
Elaine McClain, 72, filed a lawsuit in Florida state court this fall claiming that Lee incited “a dangerous mob mentality” when he tweeted her address to about 240,000 followers.
The suit claims that McClain’s address was then retweeted by followers with threatening messages like “Let the PURGE BEGIN.”
The McClains had accepted a settlement on March 29, in which Lee apologized and paid the couple $10,000, according to court documents. However, the couple has decided that this wasn’t enough and is moving forward with this lawsuit. They claim that they still receive death threats, were forced to stay in a hotel during the Zimmerman trial, and have been unable to sell their home. They are seeking unspecified damages and lawyer fees. Their lawyer, Julia Young, says that the terms of the settlement do not forbid a lawsuit.
Lee moved for the trial to be moved to a federal district court in Orlando on the grounds that the damages sought meet the minimum to be tried in federal court, but a magistrate judge recommended that it stay in state court last week.
If Florida’s judicial past is any indication, it doesn’t look too good for Lee. It’s unfortunate that he’s being sued on top of a settlement, but he was definitely recklessly irresponsible on that one.