What can I do about someone from my past writing slanderous things about me online?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've just found out that the sister of my ex-boyfriend has been making comments on third-party websites about me. Most of her accusation is vague and incoherent; she calls me selfish, greedy and manipulative without saying why. I've racked my brain to figure out what she's referring to, but I honestly can't -- my ex and I had a very emotionally messy breakup, no doubt about it, but I swear I can't think of anything in my relationship with him that fits such a description at all. (I can think of several ways that could apply to *him*... but I suppose getting into all that would be a long needless digression here. But what could I say in response to *that* sort of thing, anyway? "You're evil, evil, evil!" -- "Um, no, I'm not"?) And *she* had nothing to do with our breakup whatsoever. My relationship with her, for all the years I knew her, never had any problems -- we weren't great pals or anything, but we were always friendly to each other, were often in each other's homes, and I can't remember a single bad word or any unpleasantness happening between us. If she really thought I was such a terrible person at any time during those four years, then she's the best actress I've ever known.
The one clear accusation she makes against me is that I photographed her kids and sold the photos without her permission. I did indeed take photos of them (I'm a retired professional photographer) and had them as part of my portfolio, with her enthusiastic approval... for the entire FOUR YEARS that her brother and I were together. For *four years* I photographed them, not only always in the presence of her, her brother and her husband, but with the enthusiastic approval of all three. For four years I had them in my portfolio both online and off; I included them in a public showing at which she was present; I watched her hang the prints on the walls of her home; and when one of them was published in a magazine, she bought a ton of copies to give to people. I have pictures of her at every photoshoot -- including, of course, tons of photos of her herself, with the kids, beaming at the camera -- and I have emails from her (and her husband and family) going across all four years raving about the photos. The children even called me uncle, for crying out loud; I still have a crayon drawing "To Uncle (me)" made by her youngest son. How she can say this is totally beyond me.
Shortly after her brother and I broke up, she sent me an email making the same claim (that I somehow took all these photos behind her back and she'd just discovered their existence), threatening me with legal action if I didn't take them down immediately, quoting strange Bible verses and calling me a monster. Needless to say, I was all too glad to remove them... and that was the last time I ever heard from her.
That was *five years ago.* I haven't had one word of contact with her ever since. The only contact I've had with her brother was some few brief emails, some months after that, to clear up the legal dissolution of our domestic partnership. And now she's on the warpath against me again in public, five years after the last time I ever spoke to her (or her brother or anyone connected to them). I mean, I get that her brother and I had a bad breakup and that she's automatically going to see him as the wronged party, no matter what; I have a sister, too, and if I thought someone hurt her, they'd have one angry brother to deal with. But I wouldn't out-and-out *lie* for her (and I'm pretty sure she'd never want me to), unless I had to if she was in some kind of danger or something. If she's doing this out of some imagined need to defend her brother, I have no idea why; for all the messiness of our breakup, it *was* very much mutual. We haven't had any lingering legal or financial (or otherwise) ties of any kind. And for fuck's sake -- it was FIVE YEARS AGO! I have no reason to think her brother hasn't long since moved on -- and no clue why she hasn't.
So what now? If I respond to her, I'm worried that I'd just be stepping into a steaming pile of crazy and stirring her up further to god knows what; I've got enough going on in my life to deal with already, thanks. For my own sake -- to say nothing of the sake of her kids, *they* certainly don't need to be dragged into anything -- I'd be more than happy to ignore it and get on with my life, but I'm worried that letting this go unanswered will come back to bite me in the future, with anyone I'm looking to work for or have a relationship with, if they google my name and see someone making me sound so sleazy (which could be her intention, for all I know). So what, if anything, should I do?
Thanks in advance.