Brian Burke, ex-Canucks, Maple Leafs GM, files defamation suit in B.C. Supreme Court
VANCOUVER — Lawyers for former Vancouver Canucks general manager Brian Burke filed a defamation suit in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday against 18 unnamed people for allegedly spreading lies about Burke having an affair with sportscaster Hazel Mae and fathering her child.
According to Burke’s notice of civil claim, the defendants — identified only by various Internet pseudonyms including “NOFIXEDADDRESS”, “LOOB”, “NAGGAH”, “SLOBBERFACE”, “NCOGNITO” AND “SIR PSYCHO SEXY” — spread false and defamatory statements by various means, “including through email, Internet bulletin board postings, Facebook pages and Twitter messages.”
It said the defamation was made with “a reckless disregard for their truth” and that it was motivated by “actual and express malice.”
The notice of claim said the offending statements including one in which the defendant or defendants wrote that the reason for Burke’s dismissal from the Toronto Maple Leafs “was not his willingness to pull off the Roberto Luongo trade ….
“Well it didn’t take long for Brain Burke and Hazel Mae to hook up. In the summer of 2012, Sportsnet removed her from the glass desk ... insisting that she stand while on air. As the summer wore on ... Sportsnet sent her home while they decided how to handle the impending scandal.
“Scandal, you say? Well yessirr......The father could have been any number of worthy candidates, but the lucky dad is, in fact, our very own Brian Burke.”
The offending statement cited in Burke’s claim also said that “Hazel and Burkie have been at odds as to if, how and when to release the news. Sportsnet still doesn’t know what to do with her. On the other hand, new owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Bell Canada have little, if any, tolerance for egotistical, belligerent, sex-addicted senior executives and decided to eliminate the problem by gassing Burke.”
According to Burke’s notice of claim, the words in the offending statement meant that he “had a sexual relationship with the Rogers Sportsnet reporter Hazel”, and that “(Burke) is the father of Hazel Mae’s child.”
“Both of these meanings are false and defamatory,” the lawsuit concluded.
Meanwhile, Burke’s counsel Peter Gall, of Heenan Blaikie LLP, said in a statement that while Burke has no issue with people disagreeing with his views on hockey matters, he will not tolerate lies that hurt his family and the families of others.
“The Internet has provided a great opportunity for the expression of opinions, and has mostly been positive for sports,” added Gall. “,Unfortunately it also allows a small minority to create false stories about people and circulate them to a wider group. This is not just happening with public personalities — it has also given rise to cyber-bullying.”
Burke is currently employed by the Anaheim Ducks.
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