Spike Lee Sued by Elderly Couple for Tweeting That Their Address Was George Zimmerman’s Home

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 13 2013 8:16 AM

Spike Lee Sued by Elderly Couple for Tweeting That Their Address Was George Zimmerman’s Home

179148228
Director Spike Lee attends Day Six of the 2013 US Open.

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA

Last year, an elderly Florida couple unexpectedly became entangled in the George Zimmerman murder case for the killing of Trayvon Martin through, of all things, Twitter. Elaine and David McClain’s troubles started in March 2012 when filmmaker Spike Lee Tweeted out a message to his 240,000 followers that, he thought, contained the address of George Zimmerman. The address, however, was that of the McClains, who are both in their early 70s. Now, the couple is suing Lee.

The McClains said in their lawsuit that they feared for their lives after their address was broadcast on Lee’s account, according to ABC News. The mix up apparently occurred, the McClains told Orlando news station WKMG-TV, because Elaine McClain’s son’s name is George Zimmerman, but is not related to the Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin and hadn’t lived at the McClain’s home in almost 20 years.

Advertisement

Lee has since apologized to the couple and they reached a financial settlement last year. Despite the settlement, the McClains say that they were again erroneously targeted and harassed when George Zimmerman went to trial. Here’s more on the suit from the Smoking Gun.

In the couple’s lawsuit--which was filed in Florida Circuit Court--the McClains accuse Lee of “encouraging a dangerous mob mentality among his Twitter followers, as well as the public-at-large.” The lawsuit alleges that the pair has suffered “injuries and damages” subsequent to the March 29, 2012 settlement struck with Lee. The complaint does not specify monetary damages. However, a court filing by Lee’s attorney reports that the McClains’s counsel had valued the lawsuit at $1.2 million.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.