DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Internet

Zimmermans Sue Roseanne Barr Over Tweet

Gunman's parents claim star sought to incite a "mob"

Roseanne Barr

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Zimmerman v. Barr

MARCH 12--George Zimmerman’s parents are suing Roseanne Barr, claiming that the comedian forced them into hiding after she sent a Twitter message listing their home address in the wake of their son’s shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Robert and Gladys Zimmerman allege that the 61-year-old performer sought to “cause a lynch mob to descend” on their Florida home by sending a March 2012 tweet containing the couple’s address and phone number. Barr, they allege, mistakenly believed that their son was living with them, adding that her tweet was “an open and obvious call for vigilante justice.”

As TSG reported, Barr, who subsequently deleted the tweet, explained that she initially thought that disseminating the address “was good to let ppl know that no one can hide anymore.” She then pivoted to note, “But vigilante-ism is what killed Trayvon. I don’t support that.”

Barr later floated the possibility of again posting the couple’s Seminole County address: “If Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll rt his address again.” She added, “maybe go 2 his house myself.”

At the time of Barr’s tweets, she had in excess of 110,000 Twitter followers. In the face of criticism for distributing the Zimmermans’s address, the performer copped to “not fully understanding that it was private not public.”

The Zimmerman lawsuit alleges that the pair (pictured above) was “forced to flee their home” and “forced into hiding” following the Barr tweet, which was intended to cause “severe emotional distress…and possible great physical harm, if not death.” The Circuit Court complaint seeks in excess of $15,000 in damages.

The Zimmermans contend that Barr’s tweet violated Twitter’s terms of service, which prohibit the posting of “other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or social security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.” Barr, who now has 232,000 Twitter followers, was not sanctioned by the messaging firm for her Zimmerman tweet.

The lawsuit does not mention Martin’s name, instead referring to the killing of the unarmed teenager as “an incident on February 26, 2012 which gained national attention and resulted in a highly publicized trial.”

In November, a separate Florida couple filed a negligence lawsuit against Spike Lee, alleging that they were subjected to death threats after the director sent out a tweet to his 240,000 followers that mistakenly identified their home address as the residence of George Zimmerman. That case is pending in Seminole County Circuit Court. (5 pages)