Defamation of Character: Employing the Written Word Describes...

Defamation Demand Letters Defamation of Character: Employing the Written Word Describes…

Defamation of Character: Employing the Written Word Describes...

It is common to find people online who label all unpleasant things written against them as defamation of character. But there’s a big difference. This article will explain what counts as written defamation, how you can spot it, and the ways you can correct defamation of character without going through a legal process.

What Is Written Defamation?

Written defamation is libel. The other type of defamation - not written but spoken - is called slander. All types of defamation possess the potency to cause injury or damages to an individual or business. However, not all unpleasant written words are libelous. See the difference below:

It is libel when...It is not libel when...
It’s not true and you have proof.It turns out to be true
It has circulated beyond your own earsYou agreed with the claims before
It has caused you significant damageIt was spoken by a person of privilege
The writer has no legal privilegeYou missed the chance to report it

Types of Libel

Libel - whether online or offline - are grouped into two categories:

Libel per se

Libel “per se” means that the statements are inherently damaging and cannot be argued against. Some words are outright defamatory when describing a person’s character, business and professional activity, or social affiliations. Common examples are:

  • Gay (for a person who is not gay)
  • Corrupt
  • Prostitute
  • Homophobic
  • Nazi
  • Racist

Libel per quod

Libel per quod is much more subtle and cannot be termed injurious at a glance. Most libel cases in print media tend to fall into this category because it is usually not the willful intent of the writer to get into a defamation entanglement. It can be as simple as falsely reporting that a famous football star was seen enjoying some roasted ham (instead of mutton) and a glass of wine at a weekend get-together. This would be a libel per quod if the player is a Muslim whose religion prohibits eating any part of a pig. The player can sue for defamation because the libel is injurious to the public’s perception of his devotion to his faith.

Libel vs. Insult

An insult, though unpleasant, is not libel. Libel includes insults and all other unpleasant written words that are injurious to a person’s reputation. The difference is the potential to cause harm which can turn an insult into libel and must be proven by the plaintiff.

Libel vs. Disparage

Both libel and disparage are similar because they consist of false statements that tend to harm an individual’s reputation. The major difference is while libel targets a personality, disparage is aimed at a business or an office to discourage others from continuing their economic endeavors with the individual. 

Libel vs. Slander

Both libel and slander are forms of defamation. Slander are spoken words or gestures. It’s common to experience both libel and slander at the same time.

How to Tackle Libel

Due to the potential for irreparable damage a libel can cause, it is always advisable to tackle libel quickly from the moment you are aware of it. Here are three ways you can protect yourself:


You can contact the libeler, who may be a familiar person, and request a retraction and an apology.

Written threat

You can send them a cease and desist letter for the same purpose, but this time you do not have to speak to them personally as your demand letter would contain all the words that need to be said including proof of libel, compensation demand, and the threat of a lawsuit.

Defamation lawsuit

Taking the libeler to court is the third option. You may need a lawyer if you have a high compensation demand. Do be wary of the statute of limitations for filing a defamation case in your state. Ensure to explore the first two options, especially sending a demand letter, before going to court.

Get a Suitable Defamation Demand Letter

DoNotPay is the perfect, convenient solution! The cease and desist letter DoNotPay drafts will gather all information about the case, demand retraction, and warn for legal action under federal defamation law. All you need to do is:

1. Search “defamation” on DoNotPay and click on the Defamation Demand Letters service.

2. Tell us about your situation:

    • Were you faced with slander or libel, or both?
    • What were the statements?
    • Where were they said or posted?
    • Why are they false or misleading?

3. What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?

That’s all you need to do! DoNotPay will generate a cease and desist letter in seconds! You can use the Send Mail feature to have us mail it to the defamer!

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