Spike Lee George Zimmerman

March 29, 2012 by staff 

Spike Lee George Zimmerman, Spike Lee has apologized to a Florida couple who say they were forced to leave their home when a Twitter posting that the director helped spread listed their address as that of a man who shot an unarmed teenager.

Elaine and David McClain are in their 70s and say they have a son named William George Zimmerman who lived in their Sanford-area home in the mid-1990s. They say he is no relation to 28-year-old George Zimmerman who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

The killing has touched off widespread public outrage and protests across the country, including from Lee and other celebrities, because Zimmerman was not arrested. He says he acted in self-defense.

Lee tweeted late Wednesday: “I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address. It Was A Mistake. Please Leave The McClain’s In Peace.”

9:30 p.m. update: A tweet forced an elderly couple to flee their home and move into a hotel room after director Spike Lee incorrectly circulated to his 240,000 followers that their address was that of Trayvon Martin’s shooter George Zimmerman.

Since the tweet went out, Elaine and David McClain, 70 and 72, have gotten hate mail and unwanted visitors. Their son told the Orlando Sentinel they left to avoid the spotlight and possible danger.

Lee took down the tweet and was not available for comment. The director, noted for such films as She’s Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing, is one of several celebrities who has been criticized for what’s become known as “reckless tweeting.”

Two Texans are seeking compensation from Justin Bieber after his prank tweet “Call me right now,” followed by a list of random digits, left their phone ringing off the hook.

Courtney Love settled a lawsuit for $430,000 over a tweet ranting against a fashion designer in 2011, the Associated Press reported.

It is a challenge to prove defamation in lawsuits against tweets, says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

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