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9/14/2020

RQN attorney, Whitney Hulet Krogue, talks with ABC4 News about a defamation lawsuit filed against two local bartenders after they criticized their former employers for a racially charged social media post regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ms. Krogue asserts that her clients’ social media posts were protected free speech under the Utah Constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Ms. Krogue has worked on several civil rights matters and felt this case was especially important to protect free speech “that relate[s] to one of the most notable exigencies of our era.” She said that is one reason she offered legal representation on a pro bono basis to her clients.

“I personally really care about free speech rights. At the same, I was struck by the uneven playing field here. On one hand, you have owners of these businesses suing local bartenders in our community for what they said on Facebook,” she said. “Litigation is expensive and I [didn’t] want to see people giving up their free speech rights because they couldn’t afford to litigate the suit.”

“The first amendment serves a really, extremely important role in our society because it protects the marketplace of ideas. So this theory [is] that by enabling people to have free and unfettered discussions, we’ll be able to move our society toward the best solution to problems,” she said. “This warrants strong constitutional protection of that speech.”

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