Instagram Influencer Ordered to Pay Ex-Boyfriend Over $150K for 'Relentless' Online Defamation
The Instagram posts began in 2016 and continued for a year, claiming a Canadian business consultant was a cheater and alcoholic with sexually transmitted diseases.
There would be more than 85 of these posts on Instagram and several websites targeting Brandon Rook, according to court papers. A judge in British Columbia ruled the posts are defamatory, and ordered Rook’s ex-girlfriend Noelle Halcrow to pay him $200,000 ($154,000 in U.S. dollars) in damages, according to the court documents.
Rook and Halcrow, a self-described Instagram influencer with a now-private account of over 17,000 followers, began dating in August 2015 before Rook ended the relationship that month, the documents state. In February 2016, the pair started up again and Rook ended the relationship that July. The next month, the posts began under a variety of fake names, court papers say.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elliot Myers ruled that Halcrow defamed Rook in “a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive” and “that she was motivated by malice.”
Halcrow, described as unemployed in court papers, claimed the posts were written by her friends and other people, not herself.
But Myers cited evidence including an IP address used for Halcrow’s emails that was the same as the one used to set up the defamatory Instagram accounts, and texts that Halcrow sent to Rook “about taking down the posts and threatening to put them up again or to create further posts,” the ruling states.
“The courts have recognised that the internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations,” Myers writes. “This is one such case.”
The scores of defamatory posts are listed in the ruling.
In addition to the $200,000 damages the judge ordered Halcrow to pay Rook, she is also required to pay him about $30,000 in U.S. dollars in special damages to recover the money her ex spent on reputation consultants to remove the postings.
PEOPLE has reached out to Halcrow for comment, as well as Rook through his attorney, Alan McConchie.