That Judge Judy doesn’t put up with any BS!
We had five roommates during our Fall 2013 DCP semester and, thankfully, no roommates during the Spring 2014 semester.
We started writing a book about our Disney experiences this year and were offered a contract by Theme Park Press, the world’s leading independent publisher of books about the Disney company, its history, its films and animation, and its theme parks.
Our book, ‘Two Girls and a Mouse Tale’, was published on August 30, 2014 to good reviews.
However, there was one person who didn’t like it. Within a week after the book was published, she read the book’s backcover blurb on Amazon.com and immediately unfriended Caroline on facebook. We thought that was the end of it. No loss.
Fast forward to a little over two months later. One evening in early November, a senior producer from the Judge Judy show calls Caroline while we were on our way to see Theresa Caputo’s “The Experience: Live” show in Denver.
She leaves a message for Caroline to call her back. Seems one of the five roommates was claiming “Defamation of Character”.
What exactly is defamation of character?
In order to sue for defamation of character, it’s not enough that somebody express or publish a defamatory statement. There must also be real damage caused by the statement. Defamation of character occurs when someone makes a false statement about you that causes you some type of harm. The statement must be published (meaning some third party must have heard it), false, and it must result in harm, usually to the reputation. The most obvious negative consequence that a defamatory statement can cause is harm to your professional reputation.
None of the five fall roommates are identified in any way in our book; they are all called “the roommate” and anonymous. We deliberately didn’t use their names, hometowns, colleges, majors, age, race, physical descriptions, tattoos, or anything that could identify them.
Also, we didn’t hang out with any of them ever, didn’t work at the same location/park with any of them, and never socialized after work with them at the Disney parks or anywhere. No one knew who our roommates were.
Yet, this one roommate saw herself in the book – although she later claimed that we made up stories about roommates/her (not true) – and she contacted Judge Judy saying she had been libeled and defamed.
This roommate was under the impression that the book should have been called: “Two Girls, a Roommate, and a Mouse Tale”. She wanted all our book profits for damages.
The producer was very interested in having us appear on the show. Judge Judy is a writer herself and has published many books.
Travel info, hotel, taxi vouchers…
We got clearance from the book’s publisher and from our lawyer, and we agreed to go on the show. Actually, our publisher wanted us to go on the show and wave around copies of the book and perhaps mention Theme Park Press. He thought it would be good publicity.
We’re the Defendant!
The dates were set for us to fly out to Hollywood November 18 – 20, 2014. The show got us plane tickets, including one for our mom as she was going as our witness, a hotel room near Paramount Studios where the Judge Judy show is taped, and taxi transfers to and from the airport & show. They were also offering us each a small stipend as we would be missing work and also a per diem for food. They overnighted the contract to us to sign.
It all sounded like fun to us! A 3 day/2 night all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood!! Whoo-hoo!!!!
But, then the senior producer called us on November 14, 2014 saying that the roommate had gotten cold feet and was afraid it might harm her “professional career” (part-time sales clerk at local mall). The producer was so frustrated after having to talk to the roommate all week (welcome to our world…).
The producer thought that the roommate didn’t have a case and would have lost.
So, our Judge Judy appearance was canceled. Too bad!!!
Meanwhile, this roommate has been self identifying herself all over Amazon.com, leaving a bad book review and negative comments. We’ve contacted Amazon.com about getting her review taken down as it’s obviously biased.
Case dismissed! 😉
The Appearance Agreement: It would have been fun…
We had already picked out our outfits for the show.
We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney World in the Disney College Program: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Published by Theme Park Press.