TSN have found themselves in the middle of a social media controversy after Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf, and Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert threatened them with a lawsuit over a tweet that the network published on-air. The tweet insinuated that Lupul and Cuthbert were having an affair. The offending tweet appeared on a crawl during the network’s NHL trade deadline coverage. On March 3, TSN issued a public apology delivered by lead anchor James Duthie.
“Yesterday when TSN was reporting on the NHL trade deadline it displayed a scrolling ticker of tweets from the public. In spite of TSN's protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run,” Duthie said. “There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet. TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them.”
— HELLO! Canada (@HelloCanada) March 4, 2015
Gall Legge Grant and Munroe LLP, the law firm representing the offended parties, demanded that aside from issuing a public apology, TSN should pay damages to the people involved because they were victims of false and defamatory reporting. The law firm also extended the lawsuit to Anthony Adragna, the user responsible for the tweet.
— Justin Ewing (@Dewy03) March 4, 2015
— National Post (@nationalpost) March 3, 2015
“It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did,” the law firm said in a statement.
This is not the first time that Cuthbert became involved in a scandal relating to the NHL. In 2009, Cuthbert’s former boyfriend Sean Avery was suspended after he more or less accused Cuthbert of being an NHL groupie. Avery was suspended by the league because he made “inappropriate remarks that were not related to the game”.
Elisha Cuthbert is an actress known for his work on films like The Girl Next Door and several TV shows including 24, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Happy Endings. Dion Phaneuf, on the other hand, is a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Phaneuf is known for his aggressive style of play and for his loose, offensive hits that have angered several players in the past.
Cuthbert and Phaneuf started dating in 2008. The couple got married in July of 2013.