Ontario court to hear Black Lives Matter defamation case

Ontario court to hear Black Lives Matter defamation case

Canada will have its first court hearing involving allegedly defamatory statements made against a business by a former employee who was critical of the company's stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

An Ontario court will see the case after a shoe cleaning business sued an ex-employee for slander after the former worker posted numerous tweets criticizing the “Caucasian people” that owned Sole Cleaning Inc. of Toronto as being unsympathetic to Black Lives Matter.

The ex-employee Margaret Chu, a self-identified Asian-Canadian woman, described her former bosses as “white males” who did not care about “black culture” or “give a f—k about Black Lives Matter” while encouraging a boycott of the business, according to a report from Blacklock's Reporter.

Justice Lucille Shaw of the Ontario Superior Court dismissed the company's appeal for a court order requiring Chu to delete the social media messages, saying that “the public has an interest in knowing about a company’s stance on matters of social and political importance such as the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Chu felt her remarks were lawful, citing the statements as fair comment.

“For the defence of fair comment to succeed, the comment must be based on proven fact and on matters of public interest,” Justice Shaw said. “The defendant must also prove that, objectively, any person could honestly express the comment based on the proven facts.”

Sole Cleaning filed the defamation suit on July 25, and as of yet no trial date has been scheduled.