The online gossip channel gossip lost a lawsuit against singer and influencer Famke Louise yesterday. The channel must take a video in which a song by her can be heard offline and post a rectification for statements in the broadcast, in which creators Jan Roos and Dennis Schouten claimed that Famke Louise was abused by Ali B. However, this statement will not lead to more matters. against the so-called juice channels, media lawyers expect.
“Ultimately, these kinds of matters generate more attention, while you want to divert attention from a lot of gossip news,” says lawyer Charlotte Meindersma, who follows the juice channels. She therefore does not think that the gossip channels will now be taken to court more quickly.
Lawyer Emiel Jurjens, who specializes in media law at the Kennedy Van der Laan office, compares it to lawsuits against tabloid magazines. “It is also not the case that there are hundreds of lawsuits against tabloid magazines. Starting a case is a heavy means. It costs time and money and you can also imagine that you do not want personal information to be exposed any more.”
Although the form in which gossip is made public has changed with the arrival of juice channels, according to the lawyers, this does not mean that the judiciary will also be adjusted as a result.
According to Meindersma, cases against juice channels will not be won any faster after the gossip-process. “In principle, this is not a very different outcome than we have seen in other cases about tabloid press or freedom of expression.”
“I work a lot with cases about freedom of expression and then you see that the judges often use the same yardstick against the cases,” says lawyer Jurjens. “At a certain point you had the emergence of blogs, then social media emerged. But the assessment of whether an expression is unlawful has not changed in essence and has also been applied in this case.”
He therefore does not think that more cases against juice channels will follow because of this case alone. “But probably a lawyer will refer to this lawsuit if there is a new case against a juice channel.”
Corrections or deletion of messages
The fact that few cases against juice channels have been brought to court so far does not mean that celebrities do not seek contact about rectifications or the removal of messages, says Jurjens. “Things do not go to court, but are already arranged before that. Sometimes it is not even necessary to involve a lawyer.”
Most juice channels are active on Instagram and often share gossip in stories that can only be seen for 24 hours. Meindersma is in contact with some channels and although she does not want to name the names, she says that these channels have had multiple requests to remove certain stories. “If a lawyer then sends them a message, they will also delete it. Because the message has already been seen and the juice channels are fine with removing it.”
No major compensation
If it does come to a case, a celebrity will earn little from it, Meindersma confirms on the basis of previous lawsuits against gossip magazines. “In America you can get a lot, but in the Netherlands those amounts are low.”
In the case of Famke Louise against gossip the makers have to pay her back the legal costs, but that doesn’t deter either, the lawyer thinks. She predicted that gossip quickly get back the money they would have to pay through their viewers. That turned out to be happening. A crowdfunding campaign by the makers raised 27,000 euros within 24 hours.
The court ruled on two issues in the case of Famke Louise. gossip had put a number of Famke Louise online, which Roos and Schouten claimed was already public. The judge did not agree. The makers also concluded based on the song that Famke Louise was abused by Ali B and they later called her a ‘retarded bitch’. They have to come up with a correction for that.
Roos and Schouten have gone too far with their firm conclusion about abuse, according to Meindersma. She sees that certainty less at other juice channels. “It’s very often exaggerated gossip. Someone knows someone who has heard something. Most channels don’t jump to conclusions.” She finds the juice channels “terrible in style”. “But if you look at it legally, there’s a lot in there that’s innocent.”
gossip has since recorded a video about the lawsuit. Meindersma: “So you see that too gossip is not afraid. They have started to say ‘retarded bitch’ even more often and have redid the whole story in their video today.”