A disparagement is a term, usually limited to a single word or phrase, whose entire intent is to classify someone or something else in a negative light.

The disparagement may be related to some aspect of a person that the disparager deems to be inadequate or less. A disparaging comment can also be made about some entity as well, such as a country, institution, company, or other group of people.

Proof of Disparagement

A disparagement can be an illegal action, especially if there is proof of the disparagement and there is some resulting harm as a consequence of the statement(s). Recently there have been several laws passed known as food product disparagement laws.

The laws are in effect in some 14 states at the moment. These laws came about after a 1989 scare that led to a severe dip in the apple market and affected apple growers’ businesses.

In 1996 Texas cattle ranchers filed a suit alleging that the talk show host Oprah Winfrey made disparaging remarks that caused millions of dollars in losses to the American beef industry.

Disparagements Used in Official Capacity

Disparagements can also be illegal if they are used in official capacity, such as in job interviews, public speaking, or public announcements, even in newspapers or on the Internet.

Disparaging remarks can be made about character of a person based on misinformation.This can lead to the person being harmed in some way because of the remarks.

In all cases of disparagement, the legal aspects are very complicated and should only be handled by an experienced legal team with years of successful disparagement cases.


Disparagement can also be included in any case of discrimination, including racial discrimination and sex discrimination.

Many times a statement is made and brushed off in most social or business settings that are actually against the law due to their discriminatory intent.

Most disparagement comes as a result of a person attempting to make another feel or act in a certain way that would benefit the person saying the disparagement.

Product Disparagement

Similar to food product disparagement, certain statements are legal and may be made about someone or some company or industry, of course.

These legal statements may be made through some non-confrontational criticism, satire, or other area of the law that falls within the free speech guaranteed to all people in the United States.

When it is determined that the speech infringes on someone else maliciously, and has caused some harm to them, it may then be illegal.

Contact a Disparagement Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been the victim of disparagement and you feel it is a breach of the law, your first course of action should be to contact an experienced law firm through this website for a free no-obligation consultation.

Only with a legal team on your side can you effectively argue your case and receive damages owed to you. Since many disparaging remarks are part of a larger problem, your case may alleviate problems that other people may face in the future if you had not filed a complaint.

Find a Lawyer Now

Search for a Personal Injury lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.