UNDERSTANDING DEFAMATION AND YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS ON DEFAMATORY CONTENT
DEFAMATION PER SE
Another subset of defamation is known as defamation per se, which is divided into slander per se and libel per se. Defamation per se, whether spoken or written, is limited to 4 categories of false statements that either:
- accuse a person of committing a serious crime;
- injure or damage a person’s business, trade, or profession;
- allege that a person has a loathsome disease (such as Herpes, HIV, or AIDS); or
- imputes unchastity.
Where a statement qualifies as defamation per se, the law presumes that damages will result, avoiding the necessity of proving them separately. Of course, as a practical matter, damages must be proved. As with any claim for defamation, a lawsuit based on slander per se or libel per se is defeated by a showing that the published statements are substantially true.
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