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Spike Lee's Zimmerman Tweet Could Lead to Lawsuit

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 29, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Someone should probably take away Spike Lee's Twitter account. Never one to shy away from racial controversy, the longtime director took to the microblogging site to voice his opinion on the Trayvon Martin shooting. But instead of engaging in political discourse, he seems to have caused a big mess.

He retweeted what he thought to be George Zimmerman's address. The home actually belongs to an elderly couple, one of which currently suffers from a heart condition.

Spike Lee's Twitter followers -- he has approximately 250,000 -- took that information and ran with it. The couple, Elaine McClain, 70, and her husband David, 72, have received hate mail and threats, reports MSNBC. The harassment is so bad, Fox News reports that they have temporarily moved into a hotel.

The misunderstanding didn't start with Lee, according to MSNBC. After digging through public records, a man named Marcus Higgins found an address for George W. Zimmerman, who happens to be the McClains' son. He confused that name with George M. Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin. Higgins then tweeted the address to a number of celebrities, including Spike Lee.

Even though Higgins is the originator of the bad address, the McClains can still sue Spike Lee for his Twitter gaffe. The director doesn't seem to have checked the tweet for accuracy and instead chose to recklessly retweet the content to 250,000 people. He likely knew people would do illegal things with that address.

Spike Lee's Twitter negligence is arguably one of the main causes of the McClains' current predicament.

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