Roseanne Barr Sued by George Zimmerman's Parents For Tweeting Address
The lawsuit alleges that Barr's tweets were "an open and obvious call for vigilante justice and were intended... to cause a lynch mob to descend" on the couple’s home.
The parents of George Zimmerman have sued comedienne Roseanne Barr for tweeting their address, an act that caused them to flee from their home two years ago and never return, a legal representative said Wednesday.
Zimmerman was the center of a media storm in 2012 when he shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Many progressives in Hollywood, including Barr, rejected Zimmerman's claim of self defense and presumed the shooting was racially motivated.
Zimmerman was eventually tried and acquitted on charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder, but while an investigation ensued and before Zimmerman was in custody, Barr tweeted his address to 110,000 followers, however it was, in fact, the address of his parents, Robert and Gladys Zimmerman. George Zimmerman hadn't lived there in six years, according to a complaint dated Monday.
Director Spike Lee also attempted to tweet Zimmerman's address but he also got it wrong and was sued by David and Elaine McClain, who lived at the address mistakenly tweeted. Lee paid the couple $10,000 in a settlement agreement.
As for Zimmerman's parents, they are seeking at least $15,000 from Barr because they were forced to flee their home "in the middle of the night" after the press descended on their house shortly after Barr's tweet, they say.
After her initial tweet, Barr later tweeted: "If Zimmerman isn't arrested I’ll rt his address again - maybe go 2 his house myself."
The couple is represented by David Heil, a personal injury attorney in Orlando, Fla.
The complaint says that Barr violated the Twitter terms that she had previously agreed to. Twitter's policy states that users "may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information," including street addresses.
Zimmerman killed Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, but the couple were able to live in relative peace at their Florida home until March 29, the day of Barr's tweet, according to the complaint. Since then, though, they have had to "live in seclusion to protect their personal and emotional well being."
The complaint also says that Barr's tweets were "an open and obvious call for vigilante justice and were intended... to cause a lynch mob to descend" on the couple’s home. The document also says Barr’s actions could have led to "great physical harm, if not death."
The couple "suffered emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life, incurred additional living expenses due to the inability to live in their home and have suffered a loss in value of their home," according to the complaint. "These losses are permanent and continuing in nature."
Beyond the instances involving Barr and Lee, the shooting two years ago has spawned other lawsuits. Zimmerman, for example, sued NBCUniversal and some of its TV reporters because NBC News aired an edited version of the 911 call the night Martin was killed. The shortened version of the call made Zimmerman look racist, according to the complaint. That incident led to the firing of three people at NBC News.