(The Post Millennial) – New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz is being sued for defamation by TikTok talent agent Ariadna Jacob after Lorenz wrote a disparaging article which resulted in Jacob losing all of her clients.
Jacob says that because of Lorenz’s accusations she began to experience suicidal thoughts, TheWrap reports.
The talent agent is seeking more than $6.2 million in damages after the NYT article allegedly contained “numerous false and disparaging statements” about her and her business. Lorenz claims that Jacob leaked a client’s nude photos and manipulated creators into thinking they were getting a certain amount of brand deals.
The lawsuit states that after the August 2020 article was published, Jacob lost all 85 clients and contract money she had collected. Jacob’s clients included Brittany Tomlinson, Addison Easterling, and Charli and Dixie D’Amelio; some of the highest-earning creators on TikTok. Jacob says that after her clients left legal fees cost into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The New York Times hit-piece tarnished Jacob’s reputation and major brands stopped working with her. After the article was published, Jacob struggled to approach new talent.
“After The New York Times article, I was radioactive in my industry,” Jacob told TheWrap. “People believed Taylor’s lies that I stole from clients, leaked revenge porn, filmed young people without consent and pretended to be friends with social media God Gary Vaynerchuk, someone who’s actually been a close friend and advocate of mine for over 10 years.”
“I spent every last penny,” Jacob said. “It was overnight, I went from all these people I invested in, for months and much longer, and now being told they should not work with me in Hollywood.”
In the complaint, Jacob details that she was forced to relocate from California to Las Vegas and had to seek mental health treatment after experiencing suicidal thoughts following Lorenz’s article.
Jacob said that some of her TikTok clients, including Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, and Tomlinson signed with United Talent Agency after leaving Influences, Jacob’s talent agency. Others signed with Digital Brand Architects, which UTA acquired in 2019.
The lawsuit states that Lorenz failed to disclose that she is repped Pilar Queen at UTA. It was reported by Victims of Media in April 2021 that:
“Among the Standards and Ethics documents on the Times Company website is a manual titled Ethical Journalism Guidebook, stated to be ‘a handbook of values and practices for the News and Opinion departments.’ It contains many strictures that Lorenz violated in her coverage of Influences, UTA and the TikTok influencer industry. The Guidebook explicitly says, ‘Staff members may not accept employment or compensation of any sort from individuals or organizations who figure or are likely to figure in coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise.’ UTA represents Lorenz for book deals.”
“(UTA was) really positioning to get my clients. They didn’t like that I was signing them to physical contracts,” Jacob told TheWrap. The companies allegedly went around Jacob’s back in order to avoid clients breaching their contracts.
“The most powerful newspaper in the world and one of the most powerful companies in Hollywood teamed up against me. My startup Influences.com represented social media influencers and we were disrupting a very lucrative industry,” Jacob said.
“This isn’t the first time New York Times and its powerful, privileged owners have published lies to line their own pockets and, as a consequence, ruined innocent people’s lives. This abuse of power in media can’t keep happening because while New York Times and Taylor Lorenz act as a watchdog for the world, canceling those they deem to be dishonorable — who’s watching them and holding them accountable?”