Tallahassee, FL, USA - Feb 15, 2019: The large meeting hall of Senate Chamber in the Old Capital of Florida

New Florida Bill To Consider Defamation If Accused of Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Transphobia

Florida’s potential new law may consider accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia as defamation, sparking concerns about freedom of speech in the state.

Senate Bill 1780, introduced on Friday, aims to simplify the process for individuals to sue for defamation, focusing on “Defamation, False Light, and Unauthorized Publication of Name or Likeness.”

According to the measure, “an allegation that the plaintiff has discriminated against another person or group because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity constitutes defamation per se.”

The proposed law implies that even if these accusations are untrue, they would be automatically deemed defamatory.

SB 1780 proposes removing the “actual malice” requirement in defamation suits for discrimination accusations, based on the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case New York Times vs. Sullivan.

It also seeks to streamline the process for inferring actual malice following a discrimination claim.

In cases involving homophobia or transphobia accusations, defendants facing defamation charges cannot use the plaintiff’s religious or scientific beliefs as a defense. If found liable, the defendant may face a minimum fine of $35,000.

Similar to Florida House Bill 757, SB 1780 aims to redefine “public figure” in defamation suits, excluding non-elected or appointed public employees and individuals who gained notoriety by defending themselves publicly, giving interviews, or becoming viral online. The bill extends to statements made in print, television, and social media.

Additionally, The bill eliminates privileges for journalists, including the protection of source anonymity. It deems statements from anonymous sources “presumptively false,” potentially making journalists susceptible to lawsuits.

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Iesha
Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

About Iesha

Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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