A North Texas wedding photographer was awarded $1.08 million in a defamation suit against a local blogger and her husband who launched a social media campaign that destroyed her business, Andrea Polito Photography. The Dallas County jury found that social media posts made by Neely and Andrew Moldovan against photographer Andrea Polito amounted to defamation.
It all began back in January 2015, when the local Dallas, Texas-based news station NBC 5 aired an investigative report into one couple’s accusations against Polito. Newlyweds Andrew and Neely Moldovan accused Polito of demanding an extra $150 for an album cover after the couple had already purportedly paid $6,000 for the wedding photography. The Moldovans say they expected the album to come with a free cover, and NBC 5 reported that Polito was refusing to provide a CD of photos until the album cover was paid for.
The jury awarded Polito $1.08 million, finding that the couple “wrongfully attacked” Polito and that their public campaign against the photographer was “false and malicious.” The Moldovans can appeal the ruling.
“The jury agreed and made a statement that publicly lying, shaming, and online bullying is unacceptable. Now justice is served.”
10 years prior to the NBC 5 story, her photography business was generating in the “high six figures” on average from shooting photos alone (i.e. no coaching or seminars). She says her photo business was destroyed in a matter of days after the Moldovans went public with their false accusations.
The photographer says she’s planning to rebuild her business but will be shifting her focus toward helping other photographers grow their businesses. She has also established a new non-profit foundation called SASS (Surviving After Social Shaming) to help people who have had their reputations torn down by online mobs.