TikTok Psychic Didn’t Foresee Defamation Lawsuit


Ellia Houtsma

Information can spread fast in schools, but when a story gets told a hundred times, it’s difficult to keep the facts straight.

When the tragic story of the massacre of six University of Idaho students hit headlines, the world was stunned. Thousands of people took to social media to piece together the truth. It’s human nature to try to solve mysteries; from murder novels to detective movies, millions of people find entertainment in placing puzzle pieces. As information was gradually released regarding the University of Idaho murders, a whirlwind of online sleuths were determined to solve it. One TikToker named Ashley Guillard was confident that she was able to uncover the truth. 

Guillard claimed that the killer was none other than Rebecca Scofield, a professor at the university. Scofield supposedly had an affair with one of the victims. She panicked that the world would find out about their love and orchestrated the killings to cover her tracks. Guillard’s accusing videos amassed millions of views and she gained 20,000 followers from her posts about the case. 

How was Guillard able to solve this mystery before the police? Tarot cards. Guillard proclaims herself a psychic and used tarot cards and spiritual readings as her sole evidence. 

Some social media sites try to filter disinformation, but they don’t catch everything. (Ellia Houtsma)

Rebecca Scofield, the accused professor, was horrified. She was never in a romantic relationship with the victim. In fact, she had never met them at all. She had no legitimate ties to the crime and yet, feels her life has been ruined. 

Scofield has battled online harassment and doxxing from Guillard’s fans. She fears online threats may turn into real-life harm to her and her family. She’s installed security systems in her home and has taken extra steps to secure her own safety. However, Scofield is not going to hide from the hate. Instead, she is taking a stand against the blatant disinformation. On December 21, she filed a defamation lawsuit against the TikTok psychic. 

Scofield’s story is a cautionary tale as the internet becomes a main news source for teenagers. the internet becomes ever-prevalent in people’s lives. Social media exacerbates insensitivity by giving people an impersonal and unattached view into others’ private situations. Thousands of people approach real-life tragedies as Netflix Mysteries to solve. 

As people scroll through social media and face an endless stream of information, it’s important to view critically. Not everything online is true and not everything online is helpful. If Guillard’s audience understood that her claims were baseless, the professor would have been spared the excessive threats and danger.