The New York Times and journalist Taylor Lorenz on Thursday failed to get a federal judge in Manhattan to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a former TikTok talent agent who claimed a “hit article” the reporter wrote for the paper owned it destroyed their business.
US District Judge Edgardo Ramos dismissed all but one of the claims brought by Ariadna Jacob in last year’s $11.6 million lawsuit, but his ruling likely means the Times and Lorenz will testify again must an article from August 2020 — who accused Jacob of leaking nude photos of a TikTok influencer to industry insiders.
Jacob, the talent manager who discovered TikTok stars like Addison Rae, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, claimed Lorenz “bullied” her clients into making claims against her.
“We are pleased that the courts are admitting this case and agreeing that we have sufficiently charged the defendants with defamation,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, attorney representing Jacob.
“This ruling reinforces our belief in the strength of our case and the importance of holding media outlets accountable for publishing materially false hit stories.”
Lorenz, the controversial tech reporter, has since moved to the Washington Post.
The post has asked Lorenz for a comment.
A Times spokesman told The Post: “We are pleased that the court has recognized that almost all of Ms Jacob’s claims were legally null and void.”
“For the one remaining claim, we stand ready to pursue litigation and will continue to vigorously defend ourselves,” the Times spokesman said.
Jacob, 38, is the founder and CEO of Influences, a now-defunct company that billed itself as an “online creator management and influencer marketing company” and once managed more than 85 TikTok creators with huge followings.
She has accused Lorenz and the Times of publishing a “hit article” about her company, which struck branding deals with aspiring influencers, who in turn had to pay rent to live in a Hollywood Hills mansion and a minimum amount of social media -Contributions to create the house and promote yourself.
Jacob’s roster of TikTok stars included content creators who were paid tens of thousands of dollars every time they released a video promoting brands like Mastercard and Universal Music Group.
Influences hosted the TikTok stars at a “collaboration house” in Los Angeles, where they lived and created viral videos.
In her Times story, Lorenz quoted the influencers as saying they accused Jacob of locking them into exclusive contracts and promising them branding deals — only to then fail to deliver and saddle them with heavy expenses like rent and utilities.
Jacob had denied the allegations against Lorenz and the Times.