Having a large number of followers online doesn’t guarantee that one is exempted from the law. Take this case involving a local social media influencer/entrepreneur as an example.
Yesterday (Monday, 13th June), an influencer named Eira Aziera was ordered by the High Court of Johor Bahru to pay RM100k in damages, as well as RM30k in legal cost to Suharnizan Md Sidek, who was a victim of body shaming by the former. It’s understood the incident took place back in August 2020.
On October 2020, Suharnizan filed a RM2 million lawsuit against Eira. She claimed that the internet personality had insulted her physical appearance. The whole drama started after Suharnizan had left a comment on one of Eira’s live broadcasts. She wrote (as per Berita Harian), “Cooking live, eating live, promoting slimming products, can become slim?”
Shortly afterwards, Eira (full name Noorazira Pissal) made a video, putting Suharnizan on blast for her weight. She also used various abusive words directed at the netizen, apart from comparing the latter’s body shape to animals such as “yellow pig” and so on. In the video (which had also gone viral), she also included photos of Suharnizan and her son.
Suharniza’s lawyer, Mohd Rasheed Hassan, said Judicial Commissioner Datuk Seri Shamsulbahri Ibrahim made the decision virtually on 30th May. As revealed by the legal practitioner, the full trial for the lawsuit case was conducted online for five days, from 24th to 28th October 2021.
“The court has also ordered to post a clear and unconditional apology in all of her social media accounts. The apology posts must remain published for six months from the date of posting. In addition, the court also ruled that Suharniza (through her legal reps) had succeeded in proving her claim, after all the required elements is fulfilled,” lawyer Mohd Rasheed said in a statement.
Commenting further, Muhammad Rasheed hoped that the legal case would serve as a lesson to the public to not to simply make any statements on social media as they please.