Entrepreneur Ariadna Jacob, a former agent who represented TikTok stars and other online influencers, filed a new lawsuit against The New York Times and reporter Taylor Lorenz for publishing an allegedly defamatory story that she says destroyed her career and reputation.
Jacob is seeking more than $11.6 million in damages. The lawsuit comes less than a month after a federal judge dismissed an earlier suit filed by Jacob, 38, in which Lorenz, a former New York Times reporter, was accused of making “numerous false and disparaging statements of fact” in an August 2020 Times article headlined, “Trying to Make It Big Online? Getting Signed Isn’t Everything.” The story resulted in clients fleeing Jacob’s company over claims she said are wildly inaccurate.
JUDGE DISMISSES DEFAMATION SUIT AGAINST NEW YORK TIMES, TAYLOR LORENZ
The amended complaint, filed on October 5, 2022, alleges that Lorenz, now working for the Washington Post, “bullied” Jacob’s TikTok clients into making false allegations against her for the Times article, including a claim that Jacob was behind the leaked nude photos of an influencer. The complaint accuses Lorenz and the New York Times of knowingly publishing the article with the hopes that “their status and power within the mainstream media would armor them against liability for lying.”
The amended lawsuit also includes sworn affidavits by influencers Adam Cohen and Kyle Oreffice, who had direct contact with Lorenz, according to an online statement from Jacob’s attorneys, who say that screenshots of conversations between the influencers and Lorenz “shows her defamatory efforts were intentional and reckless.”
Discussing the case in an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday, Jacob’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon said her client’s livelihood was destroyed by the Washington Post’s “notorious crybully” who built her career “out of clout-chasing and, increasing her stature by picking victims who happen to be on the upswing in the public eye and attacking them viciously.”
“This lady is a one-woman wrecking crew, and I’m hoping this we will be the ones to finally hold her accountable for all the damage she’s caused to so many people,” Dhillon told host Tucker Carlson.
“In this case, she focused on our client, who was running influencer houses and managing talent on TikTok. Believe it or not, it’s a huge industry worth billions of dollars, and our client was on the upswing there.”
“Given five hours to respond to her hit piece questions in writing, which is her M.O, and the M.O. of other dishonest journalists, she [Lorenz] was provided with information debunking many of the lies that she published in her story,” Dhillon added. “And having written information in hand debunking these lies, she went and published anyway, and followed it up with posts on social media, lying about our client’s business practices… calling our client a bad actor on social media, and basically destroying our client’s career and causing her damage in the tune of millions of dollars.”
The amended complaint adds new claims and evidence for defamation, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to a statement on Dhillon’s website.