Pizzeria customer pays over $5K for Facebook defamation

Israeli woman shames pizzeria on Facebook, judge slaps her with fine and both sides' court fees.

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Chana Roberts,

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An Israeli woman who "shamed" a pizzeria on Facebook will pay 18,000 NIS ($5,187) in fines, Nazareth's Magistrates Court ruled.

The woman, a Nazareth resident, shamed Migdal Haemek's "Italkia" pizzeria on Facebook, writing that the pizza was "gross" and causing the owner, T., to lose income and damaging his reputation.

"She harmed by business," T. said. "This is a business that I built by myself with my two hands. I built it from scratch. And here, a few words typed on a keyboard ruined it for me... It was very unpleasant." He added, "We're a small town. This is irreversible damage."

The story began six months ago, when a 50 NIS ($14.4) pizza with eight toppings and tomatoes was not ready on time, and then complained it was "inedible and soggy," promising "never to buy" from the store again.

"At least the cats will enjoy it," she said.

She refused the T.''s offer of a refund or new pizza, because he would not deliver the replacement to her home and asked that she come to pick it up. Venting on Facebook, she slammed the pizzeria, describing their pizza as "gross" and using the "#gross" and "#Italkia" hashtags.

Later, she deleted the post of her own accord.

According to Hadashot TV, the woman's Facebook post brought T. to his knees, forcing him to sell the pizzeria at a loss. T. also said his customer added untrue details to the story, in an effort to make it seem worse than it truly was.

Suing originally for 100,000 NIS ($28,838), T. received 15,000 NIS ($4,326) in compensation and 3,000 NIS ($865) in court costs. In addition, the judge ordered her to publicize the court case and the ruling on her Facebook page.

Meanwhile, T. told Hadashot TV that he would have withdrawn the claim "if she would have come to court and apologized, asking forgiveness."

However, he added, the main point is the lesson."I hope people will learn the lesson, and not rush to destroy people and businesses with offensive posts," he said. "Facebook is very powerful. It's not a children's game."








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