WATCH: People online often say things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Viewers of TSN learned this week that the sense of online anonymity doesn’t always protect you after some malicious tweets about athletes. Eric Sorensen explains.
TORONTO – TSN issued a public apology to Maples Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, his wife and Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert, and Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul after a “false and malicious” tweet was broadcast on the sports network.
TSN broadcasted the tweet sent by Twitter user Anthony Adragna about Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul during its live special during the NHL trade deadline on Monday.
Peter A. Gall, a lawyer with Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP, issued a statement on behalf of his three clients demanding a formal apology and threatening legal action on Tuesday evening a few hours before TSN apologized on-air.
WATCH: James Duthie apologizes for the “false and inappropriate” tweet which aired.
“On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday,” the statement read.
Gall said in the statement a “similar letter” was being sent to Adragna.
The sports broadcaster posted the apology prominently on the network’s website and host James Duthie read the apology on Sportscentre.
“In spite of TSN’s protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run,” the statement read. “There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet.”
“TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them.”
TSN originally issued an apology via its Twitter account Monday saying an “inappropriate and disrespectful tweet was erroneously aired.”
Adragna, who has since deleted the offending tweet, commented on the fallout during a series of tweets suggesting it was TSN’s fault and not his.
The tweet was roundly criticized after it aired, including by Lupul, who used Twitter to dub TSN “the poor man’s TMZ.”
The allegations made in the since-deleted tweet boiled over to other social media sites, following Lupul to his Instagram account where he responded by threatening more legal action or a street fight.