So what would YOU do if daytime’s darling Ellen Degeneres laughed at you on her talk show and you weren’t even there to defend yourself? Titi Pierce, a Georgia real estate agent, recently had this experience and I’ll tell you what SHE’S doing: seeking thousands of dollars in damages. You need to hear about this lawsuit because it all stemmed from a picture that Ellen showed of Ms. Pierce’s real estate sign in front of a home that she was selling, and a potential error in judgment that Ellen may have made concerning whether it was okay to show the sign on her show.
Before we get into that, however, I want to take a quick minute to talk about thousands of dollars, though. $42,000 to be exact. That’s how much money an investor named Patrick recently generated in his real estate investing busienss without fixing up houses, flipping houses, or even, the king of all hands-off-investing, wholesaling houses while still actually being involved in real estate investing. He told me that this “hands off” investing is quote “the best thing I have ever done for my real estate business” and noted that in addition to $42,000 he’s already made, he has more closings lined up in the wings. Find out how Patrick was able to start making money in real estate literally without getting the first smudge of paint or speck of dust on him in our exclusive REI Today training at www.rei.today/42K (because that’s what Patrick made so far). That’s www.rei.today/42K. I think you’ll be extremely intrigued by this strategy.
Now, let’s get back to one of America’s favorite comediennes caught in what appears to be an atypical display of unkindness. Ellen DeGeneres always comes across as nice, good-tempered, kind lady in her comedy and on her television shows, but Titi Pierce says that being the butt of one of Ellen’s jokes leaves you feeling anything but warm and fuzzy. Ms. Pierce is suing Ellen for showing her real estate sign on daytime television without blurring out the company name, contact number, or Titi’s name, and making fun of name by mispronouncing it “Titty.” The bit was part of a skit about a certain “busty” part of the female anatomy. Ms. Pierce was actually on her way to a funeral when she began to receive prank calls about her name and eventually learned that she’d been featured on Ellen’s show and that her name had been mispronounced. Not only did she not receive a response, but the episode was re-aired and she once again received negative attention to her real estate business and unpleasant, offensive calls on her personal cell phone number, which was on the sign, the plaintiff claims. She is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
So what can we learn from this little episode? Well, obviously, first of all most of us don’t like having people laugh at our names, so that’s generally bad business even for media darlings like Ellen. Ms. Pierce says that her name means “Flower” and that it wasn’t even pronounced correctly in the offensive television episode. If nothing else, it was kind of mean-spirited of Ellen and given how nasty people can be to each other in the anonymity of the internet, I’m not surprised that Ms. Pierce received unpleasant phone calls and commentary in the aftermath.
Second, default to protecting privacy. In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to share something that you have no legal right to share, and it’s easier than ever for someone to find out you did it and sue you. Now this is not a legal show and I am not a lawyer, but a general rule of thumb is to simply GET PERMISSION before you use images, particularly if you might profit from those images’ use, because you had better believe the person who actually has the rights to those images (and heads up, it’s not always the person who took the phot) will turn up eventually if your promotion is successful.
And finally, when posting your contact information on public signs, it may behoove you to place a little bit of insulation in between yourself and a public that is not always so well behaved. It is NOT Ms. Pierce’s fault that she got nasty phone calls about a national television personality making fun of her name. Period. However, as anyone who has ever put their phone number on Craigslist ads knows, there are some whackos out there and they don’t always wait on Ellen to get into gear. An 800- number or even just an automated voicemail will go a long way toward keeping a little bit of distance between you and everyone who walks past your business sign.
If you want to read all the details of this case that are out there at this point in time and draw your own conclusions about whether Ellen, Ms. Pierce, both, or neither are at fault, then you can read the extended report in the REI Today Vault. It’s labeled with today’s episode number, 76. And if you’re not yet a member, don’t worry! just text REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 and I’ll provide you with fast, immediate access to this startling information as well as sending you straight to a treasure trove of trainings, uncut interviews, breaking news coverage, and a lot more timely, insightful information that will help make your real estate investing safer, faster, and more profitable. That’s REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 or go to www.rei.today/vault for more information right now.
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REI Nation, thanks for listening in. Now, more than ever, please remember this:
Your best investment is ALWAYS your own education.
Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.