Women Sued by LeAnn Rimes: Supporters Start Legal Defense Fund
"Team Smiley" -- in support of Kimberly and Lexi Smiley -- two of Rimes' noteworthy detractors on Twitter -- are racking up donations -- and have a website in their honor collecting money for their legal costs.
Rimes' Twitter critics -- including the Smileys, but not limited to -- are a vast army.
They have made no secret since Rimes' lawsuit was filed last week that they are angry.They don't understand why the Smileys are being targeted for simply expressing their views against a public figure in a public forum, according to messages on Twitter.
What may be lost is that the legal issue facing the Smileys is that an unauthorized conversation that was recorded and published in various public media is illegal -- not the act of public criticism and "bullying."
"Our friends Kim & Lexi Smiley are in need of our help!" a blog entry posted Sept. 1 announces.
"They are going to be fighting a court battle against LeAnn Rimes who has more money for, and more experience with, suing people for ridiculous reasons (but I digress)."
The blog entry, on a Blogspot site named Snarky Cow, is written by an unnamed source, who says she lives in Washington, D.C.
According to Twitter messages, her handle is @jana_lamoo.
A request for comment from Celebuzz to the woman was, for the most part, declined.
"If I was going to court against a multi-millionaire with experienced lawyers I'd hope my friends would help me," she wrote on Tuesday, when contacted by Celebuzz. "I'm only trying to help a friend ~ there is no real story besides that."
An email to the creator of the Blocked by LeAnn account on Twitter -- who has linked to the Smiley defense fund on her page -- was not immediately returned.
The donation blog continued, "Several tweeters have shown interest in helping directly by donating money to the Smiley Defense Fund. Above, you will find a 'Donate' button that links to PayPal for the express purpose of collecting money to help Kim & Lexi fight the forces of legal evil."
"Every dollar collected, less the fee that PayPal automatically charges, will be sent to the #TeamSmiley Defense Fund. The only purpose for this is to help our friends defend themselves against this lawsuit."
It closes, "Kim & Lexi we will do whatever we can to help ~ never forget we are behind you 100%!!!! ]=0"
In addition, there is "Team Smiley" merchandise for sale, including T-shirts of six different colors, with a smiley face and reading "#teamsmiley." They cost $20.95 plus shipping.
Some Tweeters now have "Team Smiley" smiley faces are their Twitter pictures -- and many use the phrase "Team Smiley."
The elder Smiley, Kimberly, a school teacher with four children, has said she is a woman of modest means and is shocked to be on the receiving end of Rimes' lawsuit, which was filed last week in Los Angeles.
Smiley and others have been targeted in legal documents for negative Tweets posted about Rimes -- and specifically, Rimes' attorney Larry Stein alleges, publishing a private tape recording without permission, which was later re-broadcast on Twitter in clips.
Rimes, 30, checked into a treatment facility last week for a 30-day stay to work on what her rep called "anxiety" and "developing coping mechanisms."
The same day, her attorney announced the lawsuit against the two Smileys.
Brandi Glanville, star of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and ex-wife of Rimes' husband Eddie Cibrian, has been on the opposite side of this online social media mess -- in the context of fans' Team Brandi vs. Team LeAnn drama.
Cibrian famously struck up a relationship with Rimes in 2009, while Cibrian was still married to Glanville.
Perhaps surprisingly, members of Team Brandi have not slowed down in their Tweets about Rimes. But in some cases, it has morphed into honest talk about the prospects of the legal attention.
"LR [Rimes] has lots of $ for frivolous lawsuits while the rest of us fabulously but un-famous don't so everything helps :)" wrote @jana_damoo -- the web host of Smiley's defense fund -- on Twitter, Sept. 2.
On Thursday, after Rimes had checked into treatment, Glanville told Usmagazine.com that she "totally supports" the country singer's decision to enter an in-patient facility.
@spphirejd agree! Plus LR has lots of $ for frivolous lawsuits while the rest of us fabulously but un-famous don't so everything helps :)
— Jana ]=0(@Jana_LaMoo) September 2, 2012
"My top priority is my children, and at the end of the day we are a family," Glanville said. "LeAnn is their stepmom, and they love her. I am wishing her all the best, and I hope she will find what she is looking for while in rehab."
What do you think of Team Smiley? Are you going to donate?