Skip to main content

Can you be sued for defamation for calling someone "homophobic" if they use a derogatory term

Brooklyn, NY |

In an online discussion, I made the remark that someone had been 'openly homophobic', obliquely referencing an incident where he used a derogatory term for a gay person in another online discussion. i did not name the person who used the derogatory term. can i be sued for defamation?

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

Anyone can be sued but it does not sound like a good case. One, you didn't name the person. Two, truth is a defense (print out the earlier discussion. Three, you may have an opinion defense.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

Technically, anybody can be sued for anything, but that doesn't mean it has merit or will get very far. Calling someone homophobic is an opinion, its not actionable

This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

Posted

Anyone can sue anyone, but the question always comes down to whether they will win. These cases are typically taken on an hourly retainer. Unless the person has $10,000 to burn it is doubtful.

Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

An opinion cannot form the basis of a claim for defamation, since expressions of an opinion false or not, libelous or not, are constitutionally protected and may not be the subject of private actions. There are a number of other reasons you are safe, also mentioned by the other attorneys.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.

Mark as helpful

5 lawyers agree

Posted

This is an opinion, not a false statement of fact required for defamation

Mark as helpful

6 lawyers agree

Posted

As stated, "you can be sued for anything." From the limited information it sounds like your opinion and not a statement of fact. While you say you didn't name the person, if it was an online discussion and you were referring to an offline event, then those in the online discussion would have no way of knowing who you were referring to - again, in your favor.

Mark as helpful

Internet law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics