Jack Aaronson Aka Dominic Ford V Marcus Stones Aka Mickey Taylor
- Hits: 379
False allegations of sexual assault on social media
In this libel defamation case, Yair Cohen and Filiz Kiani of Cohen Davis Solicitors represented Jack Aaronson, also known as Dominic Ford, where he took Marcus Stones, popularly known as Mickey Taylor to court. The case, presided over by Mr Justice Julian Knowles at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, shed light on the power of social media and the consequences of false accusations. Let's delve into the facts of the case and the judge's ruling.
The crux of the case revolved around a series of serious accusations made by Mickey Taylor against Dominic Ford on Twitter and YouTube. Mickey Taylor claimed that Ford, a prominent figure in the industry, and the owner of the social media platform JustFor.Fans had sexually assaulted multiple men, branding him a serial rapist, allegations that Mr Ford completely denied, asserting that they were baseless and motivated by revenge following a disagreement between the two individuals on an unrelated matter.
The disagreement revolved around Micky Taylor’s request to Mr Ford to remove a model's account from a JustFor.Fans due to alleged racist behaviour by the model. Mr Ford, in return, agreed to investigate the complaint but refused to remove the account immediately. In response, Mickey Taylor began publishing defamatory tweets, publicly accusing the Dominic Ford of sexual assault and rape.
Dominic Ford highlighted several tweets made by Mickey Taylor, the Defendant, which he deemed defamatory and seriously damaging to his reputation. These tweets, as it turned out, falsely accused him of using his industry position to extort models and blackmail them into sex. At the same time, Mickey Taylor also posted screenshots of messages referring to a personal vendetta he had against Mr Ford.
The judge delivered a verdict in favour of Dominic Ford on all counts. Following a week’s trial, The judge acknowledged that Dominic Ford, the Claimant, came across as a genuine, credible, and honest witness, upon whose testimony the judge could rely with confidence. In contrast, the judge found the Defendant, Mickey Taylor, to be unreliable and unable to give a straight answer to a straight question, leading the judge to conclude that his evidence could not be relied upon. The judge also noted that the alleged victim, Cooper Tennent (referred to as Tannor Reed in the industry), gave emotive evidence that was difficult but lacked consistency, particularly regarding the central issue of consent.
The judge stated that while Tannor Reed may have been telling the truth as he believed it to be today, it did not necessarily mean that his account of the allegations against the Claimant was reliable or objectively true. After a thorough examination of the evidence, Mr Justice Julian Knowles delivered his verdict. He acknowledged that Mickey Taylor's publications were defamatory and seriously harmful to the Dominic Ford's reputation.
The judge rejected Mickey Taylor's defence that his publications were in the public interest, citing the lack of evidence and the presence of personal vendetta against Dominic Ford. He did not present any substantial evidence or credible sources to back up his allegations against Mr Ford. This lack of evidence undermined the credibility of his claims. The judge emphasised that responsible social media usage should not involve personal attacks or the spreading of false accusations.
In light of the severity of the defamation campaign and its impact on Mr Ford’s reputation, business, and mental well-being, the judge awarded him a total of £110,000 in damages, including an amount for aggravated damages. Mickey Taylor was also ordered to pay Mr Ford’s legal costs which were in excess of £300,000. The judge also told Mr Taylor that he is prevented from now on to republish the false allegations against Mr Ford and granted a defamation injunction against him.
Yair Cohen, who together with Filiz Kiani represented Jack AAronson in his defamation case against Mickey Taylor said that this the case serves as a significant milestone in Cohen Davis' fight against online defamation. It underscores the importance of responsible social media usage and the potential consequences of spreading false accusations on the Internet. This ruling sends a strong message that individuals must be held accountable for their actions, even in the virtual realm. The judge emphasised the importance of substantiating allegations with credible evidence before making them public. This requirement ensures that individuals do not engage in spreading false information or making baseless claims that can harm someone's reputation.
The judge's decision highlights the potential consequences of personal attacks and false accusations, both legally and in terms of reputational harm. By emphasising responsible online behaviour, the ruling aims to promote a more respectful and accountable digital environment. It encourages individuals to think critically before sharing information or making allegations, especially when they can have severe consequences for the subject of those claims.
Ultimately, the judge's decision serves as a reminder that online platforms should not be used as a means to spread false information or engage in personal attacks. It reinforces the importance of ethical conduct and responsible communication in the digital age, where information can spread rapidly and have long-lasting effects.