A Texas wedding photographer says her business dropped from 75 to 100 bookings a year to just two after a newlywed couple trashed her online and on TV, the Dallas Morning News reports. On Friday, a jury ordered the couple to pay Andrea Polito $1.08 million. Andrew and Neely Moldovan accused Polito of "holding their photos hostage" following their 2014 wedding. They claimed Polito was demanding an extra $125 for a wedding album cover before she would give them digital copies of their photos. According to WFAA, the Moldovans claimed Polito was demanding "unreasonable fees"—despite it being included in the contract they signed. Polito says she was prepared to absorb the $125 charge to keep the couple happy; instead they went public.
On local news and online, the Moldovans claimed Polito "cheated" and "scammed" them. Neely Moldovan used her position as a blogger to amplify the story, Polito says. "Statements like, 'I'm pretty sure her business is ruined,' 'I hope this goes viral,' 'feeling excited,' and 'justice has been served' are not the actions of a concerned and hurt bride," PetaPixel quotes Polito as saying. "They are actions of an individual trying to take someone down." Polito filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit in 2015, and a jury ruled in her favor Friday, awarding her $1.08 million. The jury determined that not only was Polito attempting to follow the contract but also tried to work with the Moldovans further to "satisfy their demands." "There are real world consequences for maliciously attacking a business online with venom and lies," Polito's lawyer says. (This epic photo featured mystery newlyweds.)