LOS ANGELES (CN) – A former talent agent sued the vice president of The Agency Group, claiming his former boss impersonated him on Twitter to post lewd comments, ruining his career.
Joseph Cassiere sued David Shapiro on Tuesday in Superior Court, alleging defamation and false light – that that the fake tweets ruined his reputation in the music industry.
Cassiere claims he joined the agency in April 2010 and built a roster of more than 25 clients until he was fired in March without explanation.
According to Cassiere, Shapiro began to “cyber-impersonate” him during his first year at the agency, creating a Twitter account under Cassiere’s name using the Twitter handle @QuotesOfJJ. The account included a profile picture of Cassiere, and Shapiro allegedly used the account to follow other agents, managers and record labels.
“For many months, defendant would post defamatory tweets online that could immediately be viewed by practically everyone in plaintiff’s area of the music business,” the lawsuit states. In these tweets, defendant would intentionally say things that made plaintiff appear to be foolish, inept and sexually perverted. Defendant’s tweets would then get re-tweeted (i.e., forwarded) and thus disseminated quickly, with absolutely no control over their ultimate destination or viewership.”
Cassiere claims the “abhorrent” tweets on the feed included the statements: “‘With Wrestlemania not being on tonight, i decided to have friends over. looking for a nut.”‘
Nut is slang for ejaculation. Cassiere claims that a director at A&R Atlantic Records retweeted the statement.
“Many tweets referenced plaintiff trying to get ‘nuts,’ lewdly implying that plaintiff was seeking the opportunity to promiscuously and publicly find sources of ejaculation,” the lawsuit states.
Cassiere says he became convinced that Shapiro had created the account after the executive used the Twitter handle to tweet about Cassiere on his own feed.
He claims that when he confronted the vice president and asked him to take the account down, Shapiro sent an email “with a picture of Oprah Winfrey pointing and laughing with the text ‘YOU MAD?'”
Though the account was eventually deactivated, Cassiere says, he was denied a $25,000 pay raise and was fired on March 27 this year.
When Cassiere asked his bosses for an explanation, he says he was told: “‘It’s just not working out.'”
He was locked out of a corporate account containing information on his roster of clients, he adds.
“Other people in the industry started to call plaintiff as word got out. Plaintiff attended the Coachella Music Festival – an annual event held in Southern California with over half a million attendees – during the weekend of April 12, 2014. Plaintiff was repeatedly told that his termination was because ‘bands and industry professionals didn’t take him seriously’ and that his ‘perception and credibility was not good’ within the music business. Plaintiff was informed that it was defendant all along who created and operated the @QuotesOfJJ Twitter page,” the lawsuit states.
Cassiere seeks punitive damages, lost wages, medical bills and costs.
He is represented by Douglas Hayes with Hurwitz, Orihuela & Hayes.
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