HONOLULU, HI / ACCESSWIRE / November 11, 2022 / After 3.5 years of work restoring his reputation, Honolulu-based doula and photographer Daniel Gallagher achieved a huge win on November 3 when a federal jury found he was defamed on social media in 2018.
With the federal court victory, Gallagher can more effectively combat accusations leveled at him within social media birthing and motherhood groups and in targeted, false reviews on his professional Facebook pages. The fight to recover his reputation and make up for the lost career time and earnings will be an ongoing process requiring an effort far outweighing the time spent on the social media posts defaming him.
What happened to Danny the Doula is a cautionary tale about the negative repercussions for the victim, the accuser and other sharers when unfounded accusations emerge on social media and are amplified without consideration for the long-term consequences of spreading disinformation.
Winning the defamation lawsuit.
Daniel Gallagher was over one year into a fight against defamatory, inaccurate information being shared about his business in local and national Facebook groups when he filed his lawsuit in federal court in June 2019.
A striking point in the suit was that the most insidious material was spread by individuals who did not know or use Gallagher's services personally and who misconstrued informational content shared about niche opportunities in adult content. As chatter spread, numerous people associated with the maternity groups started attacking the doula and leveling damaging accusations with no basis in reality.
By siding with Gallagher, the federal jury determined he was defamed when reviews warned other women to stay away from him and spread false accusations of predatory behavior. The jury also determined Gallagher deserved punitive damages from multiple defendants, a striking reminder that spreading false information online is damaging to the target and can lead to serious consequences for the sharer in civil court.
The cost of defamation
While Daniel Gallagher has emerged victorious in court with a legally cleared name, the true cost of fighting against targeted online abuse and cancel culture cannot be recovered in civil or criminal proceedings.
Legal costs add up to six figures quickly over years spent in federal court, and the damage of negative exposure for a career in photography and as a doula can never truly be quantified. Long-term earnings and planning for the future suffer when a career is held in stasis, and the nuances of navigating social media and the web after being targeted in such a malicious attack are complex. While recovery is always possible, the hit is extreme for even the biggest of corporations.
For a doula and photographer like Daniel Gallagher, it can be a career changer, and he is exploring new horizons in marketing. It can be a natural transition for anyone, but being forced after defamation is something different, particularly for a man who was and is beloved by many clients.
"Without his love, empathy and support, I fear my world would have been much darker," is how Samantha Ross, the founder of a GoFundMe campaign for Gallagher, describes her experience with the doula.
Her commitment to helping him fight the false accusations extended to traveling from Australia to act as a witness and starting the campaign to offset the emotional and financial destruction Gallagher and his family suffered over the past four years.
Gallagher's suit illustrates how important it is to share responsibly on social media and avoid participating in attacks - the price can be too high for all involved.
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SOURCE: Daniel Gallagher