This just in: You can say someone is “f***ing crazy” on Twitter to your heart’s content, according to a little something called THE LAW.
“Of course I can say someone is ‘f***ing crazy’ on Twitter,” you protest. “I can call 10 people a f***ing derpnugget before breakfast and still be well-within my Constitutional rights!”
You’re mostly right, though there are some limits to free speech (you can’t threaten people, for instance) and one of those limits is libel. However, according to a recent United States District Court of Massachusetts ruling, calling someone “f***ing crazy,” especially in the midst of a heated Twitter battle, does not constitute libel.
Per the court’s discussion in Mara Feld v. Crystal Conway:
“The tweet cannot be read in isolation, but in the context of the entire discussion. In this case, the tweet was made as part of a heated Internet debate about plaintiff’s responsibility for the disappearance of her horse. Furthermore, it cannot be read literally without regard to the way in which a reasonable person would interpret it.
“The phrase “Mara Feld . . . is f***ing crazy,” when viewed in that context, cannot reasonably be understood to state actual facts about plaintiff’s mental state. It was obviously intended as criticism—that is, as opinion—not as a statement of fact. The complaint therefore cannot base a claim of defamation on that statement.”
So, thanks to a horse named Munition, you are free to call someone “f***ing crazy” on Twitter without fear of reprisal. You can read the ruling in its entirety here.
[h/t – TechDirt, Image – Eduardo Amorim]