Libel vs. Slander

My husband recently had a “heated” discussion with a contractor. If you consider screaming and cussing “heated.” Then yeah, that was it. Anyway, my husband had a heated discussion with a contractor who accused me of “slander.”

There are soooooo many things wrong with his accusation I don’t know where to begin. Wait a minute. Yes I do. Let’s define slander. And then we’ll define libel (which is what he really meant to accuse me of). And then I’ll explain why I’m innocent.

I wrote a blog post about a contractor. It was more of a review really. In the post, I detailed the unfortunate happenings over 18 months (all of which were due to inexperience, irresponsibility and negligence on the contractor’s part). I was pretty proud of my post, as it was a very detailed, factual post laden with proof in photos, dates, and recounts.

In Googling himself, the contractor found my very informative blog post (er-hm review) and let’s just say he wasn’t too happy. I mean, who would be? It wasn’t exactly something you’d put on Angieslist.com

This brings me to the heated discussion. The said contractor accused me of slander and threatened to take action if I didn’t remove my “slanderous post” (review).

Here comes the education part of this post.

Slander:  the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

First, the word “spoken.” Unless I read the post aloud at a contractor convention of some sort, this post could never be considered slander. If he knew what he was talking about, he would have accused me of libel, which is: a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. As in “take down that libelous post!”

Second, the word “false.” Like I said, I only reported on the facts (like any good journalist).

And, sure, I bet it stung a little but (like any good reviewer) I wanted people to know the TRUTH.  I wouldn’t put my worst enemy in the situation my family and I had to endure for 18 months (Ok, maybe a certain contractor).

So what did we learn today?

Slander= False, spoken, damaging statement

Libel= False, written, damaging statement

My now-private blog post (review)= Neither one.

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One thought on “Libel vs. Slander

  1. I did work for said contractor for a couple of months. Yes he is very unprofessional. Didnt show up to the shop til noon, and didnt want to work when he did show up. Told me about your project and it sat untouched for the whole time I was there. Never got paid on time, and he is a very disrespectful little guy. So sorry to hear about your experience with him. He actually blamed YOU for the shody work that HE did.

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