Court Cases & Orders Family Violence & Abuse

Revenge on an Ex, Taylor Swift Style: Wife Pens Facebook Smear Campaign on Husband

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Taylor Swift has been in the news a lot lately.  Mainly for her impressive musical achievements – such as dominating the charts such as the Billboard Top 100.

But nearly as often, it’s for her dating-life, which most recently features NFL player Travis Kelce. Historically, when one of her many high-profile relationships has ended, Taylor has often taken pen to paper, writing thinly-veiled and scathing song lyrics about her famous Exes. Among the subjects are celebrities Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, and John Mayer. Indeed the songs on her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, are being thoroughly analyzed by the public for any new insight on her old relationships.

Those famous Joes, Harrys, Jakes and Johns might not feel much reputational or financial impact after being publicly dissed by Taylor.

But it’s not so for a husband in an Ontario case called G.J.B. v. D.R.K., as the court ruled.

The couple had divorced after 10 years of marriage, and were now approaching the 10-year mark of their protracted litigation over spousal support and various issues.  In that time, the wife had taken to Facebook with a smear campaign against the husband, and included the often-repeated accusations that he was an abuser.  She also made disparaging posts about the husband’s new girlfriend, with whom he was now living.

The husband went to court ask for spousal support to be terminated entirely. As part of that application, he also asked for an order restraining the wife from disparaging him to any person, including making disparaging comments on Facebook or other social media.

The court readily granted that request.

Based on the evidence, the court found that since their separation the wife engaged in a court of conduct “that has a constant and pervasive theme of disparaging [the husband] to his children and others, including his former employers.” She created a Facebook group and personal Facebook profile ostensibly to spread helpful information about domestic violence; however it was also “replete with seriously problematic comments” about the husband. The court said:

  • [28] The goals of the [Facebook] group, set up by [the wife] D.R.K. are lofty and important. However, I find that, in this case, D.R.K. lost sight of her own circumstances and the needs of her children in her pursuit of her goals.  Her efforts within both the group site and her own personal site became a crusade to disparage [the husband] G.J.B. to his children, his employers and others. D.R.K.’s conduct became solely directed toward exposing G.J.B. as an “abuser” without regard to the impact that might have on her children and G.J.B.’s career path.
  • [29] D.R.K. also had no insight into the very real possibility that all of the comments that she was making on her group site to approximately 100 members could be disseminated to others with incalculable permutations and combinations. In many cases, she repeated comments that she made on the group site in her personal Facebook site. Although she denied that her children had access to her Facebook this is not supported by other evidence. …

The court also commented that “The unfortunate reality is that once posted denigrating comments can and often do take on a life of their own and the consequences can be dangerous and devastating.”

With this in mind, the court ruled went on to find that the husband had been reasonable in changing employment a few years earlier, even if it affected his ability to pay spousal support. This conclusion was set against the background of the evidence, which showed that the wife, who was “driven by vengeance and hate”, had contacted the husband’s employer at the time, and told them about her allegations that he was an abuser.  He was then “called on the carpet” by Human Resources to explain himself.

All of this added to the husband’s stress, the court noted, for which he was still receiving counselling.  He ended up leaving that employment and finding another job that was closer to the children and involved less travel. However he was ultimately terminated from that position, but then made what the court found were reasonable efforts to find a comparable job.  In light of this, the court reduced his spousal support obligation, though did not terminate it entirely.

Importantly, the court also made a restraining order, preventing the wife from posting or otherwise sending any comments about the husband or his girlfriend, whether directly or indirectly. It added, “This prohibition includes any comments that are disparaging or denigrating on Facebook or any other social media site, by text messages, email or other electronic means.”

Full text of the decision: G.J.B. v. D.R.K., 2019 ONSC 2631 (CanLII)

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.