A female sports reporter has sued one of her competitors for defamation, saying he and his employees made derogatory and false comments about her job skills and sex life. But he's denying everything.
According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Jennifer Royle has worked for several media outlets in Baltimore, and currently works for 105.7 "The Fan." She alleges that radio host Nestor Aparicio and two of his employees, Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester, insulted her on air and on blogs and Twitter, saying "that Royle isn't qualified for her job, lied on her resume, had 'personal, sexual and/or inappropriate relationships' with multiple pro athletes and 'that she looks like a stripper.'" Royle says that the remarks were meant to tarnish her reputation, and that they impacted her mental health and forced her to take medication. She's suing for $800,000 in damages.
Aparicio, however, says her claims are false. On his blog, he wrote, "Her allegations are so outrageous that my mind can't get around how these baseless accusations could ever enter a court of law but such is the state of the American judicial system." He adds, somewhat cryptically,
When you've been doing this as long as I have –- 27 years serving Baltimore sports fans with honest information they can trust –- you learn to have "skin like an armadillo." [...] When you are a public figure and give your opinion for a living, anonymous people write and say mean things about you. People say awful, hurtful things and prejudge. Some people –- the real cowards –- take to the internet and spew filth of all kinds in every direction. As a person who has been truly victimized on more occasions than I care to admit over my last 20 years on Baltimore radio long before there were message boards or comments under blogs, I understand the nature of being a public figure who speaks his mind in Baltimore opining about sports business, media and the community.
In a farewell post on her blog at MASN, announcing her departure for 105.7, Royle expresses very similar sentiments:
[F]or those of you who sent me nasty comments on this blog, I am in no position to preach to you or tell you that you're bad people. I don't even know you. I will say this, however: If you thought for one split second that the non-baseball related personal attack you wrote may have been hurtful, they were. While sports reporters are indeed public figures and are open for criticism, which I completely understand, please keep in mind that while most of us do have thick skin, we are also people with the same feelings as you. And that's all I have to say about that.
It almost seems like a response to Aparicio, but according to the timestamp, it was published several days earlier. Without seeing examples of the alleged defamation — which presumably will appear in court — it's hard to evaluate Royle's case. It is clear, though, that Royle has had her share of critics. In a post on her MASN blog last month, she wrote, "Just because I am from Boston does not mean I am a Red Sox homer or a Red Sox spy (yes, somebody actually called me that), nor am I here to crush your Orioles hopes and dreams" and, "I have received some of the most disgusting and hurtful hate mail (e-mail, Twitter, blog comments) since Part 1 of my Red Sox blog was posted. So do me a favor, please be a little open-minded and think before you hit send on your computers." Whether Aparicio and his employees were among these critics, and whether their criticism crossed the line, is now for the Baltimore Circuit Court to decide.
WNST, 'Nasty' Nestor Face Suit From Rival Sports Host Royle [Baltimore Business Journal]
Sports Reporter Jennifer Royle Sues Hosts At Rival Station For Defamation [Baltimore Sun]
An Indictment Of Local Journalism: Here's Our Side Of baseless Royle V. WNST Lawsuit [WNST]