Social Media’s Role in Trump v. Maher

Donald Trump is suing Bill Maher for breach of contract.   Last month Maher made an announcement during the Jay Leno show that he would pay the charity of Trump’s choice $5 million if Trump released his birth certificate.  Maher made the offer in response to Trump’s seemingly illogical calls for President O’Bama’s birth certificate, which he made as head of the so called birther movement.  Trump, who in the court filings identifies himself as “a highly successful businessman, investor, and television personality” claims that Maher’s failure to honor the offer constitutes a breach. So  what does social media have to do with the seemingly easy contracts case?  In his complaint, Trump alleges that Maher “engaged in base insults, stating that Mr. Trump’s postings on the Twitter social networking service are the work of a “syphilitic monkey.”  Not sure what these posts have to do with a contracts claim; the comments might be better suited for libel.  Except there are a host of defenses for Maher on this one; truth, privilege, failure to cause special damages, absence of malice (after all, by his own admission, Trump is a public figure)   Which one’s do you think would stick?

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