Sunday, September 13, 2015

When Defamation Becomes Stalking

I got hired to deliver the keynote address at a national European conference on increasing parent involvement in Dutch Schools. The day was a success and so was my keynote. I had nonstop visitors at my book-signing table telling me how moved they were by my keynote. And better yet, my client was incredibly pleased with my performance.

The day after the conference I was having lunch with my client. During our time together, he asked me if a certain person's name meant anything to me. I nearly dropped my fork in my salad. The name he mentioned was the same name of a man who had been stalking me for the past few years. I told my client about this man and the defamation and libel he had been using to bring damage to my career with.

It all started many years earlier when this individual had his contract terminated with a national
company that had been sending him around the country to speak and train professionals. The company ended their relationship with him because of unprofessional behavior on his part, and replaced him and his program with me and mine. From that day forward, this man has been trying to destroy my business.

His tactic is to send a letter to a client or business partner of mine in hopes of convincing them to end their relationship with me. He even began sending them to prospective clients that I had not yet even contacted for business. His multi-page letter was filled with libel and wrapped up with an offer to hire him instead of me. My newest client sitting across from me at lunch that day in Holland, revealed his company had received just such a letter from this man.

I thanked my new client for the copy of the letter and for not allowing the content of that letter to change their minds on bringing me to their country. My client told me there were two reasons why this damaging letter did not change his mind: because all of my content across the Web was testimony to my talent and abilities, and because he too has a stalker lurking in the darkness, waiting to defame and cause him professional damage or harm.

We are reminded that the business world is no different than society, and may contain unbalanced individuals. The killing of two young news crew members gunned down in Roanoke, VA by a former coworker; an unbalanced man who wallowed in his termination over 2 years earlier, is a reminder of this fact. It can happen to anyone in any line of business.

As far as my stalker goes, I will collect evidence from as many of my past clients as I can who are willing to provide his letter or at least a statement that he contacted them. I will provide this documentation to my attorney and wait to see what actions, if any, I can take. My hope is he will find another obsession to focus on and disappear from my life.

Bill Corbett is the founder and organizer of the HARTFORD SPRINGFIELD SPEAKER'S NETWORK and an award winning professional speaker who has been speaking since 1995. He has been on stages across the U.S. for everything from brief lectures to keynote speeches to multi-day training events, and will be the featured speaker at a conference in The Netherlands this Fall. He is a regular contributor to network television affiliates and provides one-on-one speaker coaching for business professionals. Learn more about him and his top-selling Amazon books.

5 comments:

  1. It's frightening to think that such a thing can happen to anyone, at any time. Yet his acts are having the opposite effect, aren't they.

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  2. Yes Jeannie, thanks for reading. But I can only wonder about the many opportunities that I did not get, and whether he was behind them as well.

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  3. Very troubling, Bill. I just did a workshop on building and protecting your brand and invited Sarah Willey, a business attorney specializing in patents, trademarks and copyright law to speak with me. Small businesses can feel very isolated when a threat like you've experienced surfaces and the cost of litigation can be prohibitive. When I founded my first business, a for sale by owner real estate service, photos of my advertisers homes were lifted and placed on a competitor's website. I was advised by an attorney at the time to rally my advertisers (home sellers) and have them all demand for him to take down their ads. My stalker stole the ad copy and removed the seller's phone number, replacing it with his mortgage company's phone. They were happy to oblige and the jerk finally backed down. Hope you have similar success.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Liz. I've been thinking about what to do. I have secured an attorney and wondered about identifying who he is to my readership/fans, and how to go about it. He is a Western Mass. behavior health professional and I'm not sure what to do next. I have been collecting all the letters and emails he has been sending to my clients and prospects, just in case I can use them. Fighting defamation and libel is very tricky and could cost lots of money to take on, only to discover that it didn't get me anywhere. On the other hand, I can't help but think about all the opportunities I lost because of him. I'd love to release his name in a newspaper, if that were possible. But I also don't want to stoop to his unprofessional level.

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  4. Bill, I believe you are a Christian. If so. How about taking a chance and praying for this guy. Send him a letter through your attorney exessing your feelings regarding his actions and asking him to cease this behavior or that you will be forced to sue him out of existence. Sometimes in praying for an enemy alone changes the situation, I know it goes against the grain. It does for all of us.

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