·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


University of Idaho Professor Sues TikToker Who Spread Murder Conspiracy Theories

— December 27, 2022

A University of Idaho professor has filed a lawsuit against a TikToker, accusing the self-proclaimed social media sleuth of defaming her by suggesting that she had ordered the recent killing of four students.

According to NBC News, the lawsuit was filed in an Idaho district court by Professor Rebecca Scofield, a chair of the University of Idaho’s Department of History.

In her lawsuit, Scofield alleges that TikTok user Ashley Guillard defamed her by claiming that she conspired with a University of Idaho student to plan and execute the murders.

Guillard’s videos, writes NBC News, appeared on TikTok in late November.

Since the initial uploads, the videos have been viewed millions of times.

Guillard, notes the lawsuit, claims that she can solve, or has solved, high-profile murder cases through the use of Tarot cards and by “performing other readings.”

Attorneys for Scofield maintain that their client never met any of the slain students, nor had any of them ever taken her classes.

The lawsuit states that Scofield was with her husband in Portland, Oregon, when the four University of Idaho students were slain.

Lawyers for Scofield repeatedly sent Guillard cease-and-desist notices, instructing her to either remove the defamatory content or refrain from uploading further speculative videos.

Person holding a knife
Person holding a knife; image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay,

However, Guillard refused the instructions, creating additional content and saying that Scofield’s lawyers would have to “file actual legal documents in a federal court” to force her to stop.

In her lawsuit, Scofield notes that she has never met Guillard in any capacity.

“Professor Scofield has never met Guillard,” the lawsuit says. “She does not know her. She does not know why Guillard picked her to repeatedly falsely accuse of ordering the tragic murders and being involved with one of the victims. Professor Scofield does know that she has been harmed by the false TikToks and false statements.”

“She fears that Guillard’s false statements may motivate someone to cause harm to her or her family members,” the lawsuit states, adding that Scofield recently felt compelled to install a home security system.

Wendy Olson, an attorney representing Scofield, issued a statement released to NBC News reiterating the lawsuit’s allegations.

“The statements made about Professor Scofield are false, plain and simple. What’s even worse is that these untrue statements create safety issues for the Professor and her family,” Olson said. “They also further compound the trauma that the families of the victims are experiencing and undermine law enforcement efforts to find the people responsible in order to provide answers to the families and the public.”

Law enforcement has yet to name a suspect in the November 13 killings.


Idaho professor sues TikToker over allegations in the killing of 4 university students

Professor sues TikTok accuser for linking her to Idaho students’ murders

Join the conversation!