There is no plausible connection between University of Idaho professor Rebecca Scofield and the unsolved murders of four students there last month, but Tik Tok conspiracy theorist Ashley Guillard has accused her of involvement in the crime all the same. Unlike most online cranks, Guillard will have to face the music: Scofield has filed a defamation lawsuit against her.
"Defendant Ashley Guillard—a purported internet sleuth—decided to use the community's pain for her online self-promotion," the lawsuit states, noting that Guillard, while operating the relatively popular account @ashleyisinthebookoflife, "posted many videos on TikTok falsely stating that Plaintiff Rebecca Scofield (a professor at the University) participated in the murders because she was romantically involved with one of the victims." Wendy Olson, one of the attorneys representing Scofield, called Guillard's claims about her client "false, plain and simple," in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday.
Police investigating the murders were forced to publicly disclaim Scofield as a suspect—but not until after the headline-generating lawsuit was publicized. Scofield thereby suffers the Streisand Effect, at least when it comes to the Internet's inexhaustible supply of trolls and conspiracy theorists, while Guillard is plainly delighted by the attention, in all her amateur Alex Jonesian glory:
Guillard responded to the lawsuit in a TikTok video posted on Friday, which has been viewed nearly 150,000 times since then.
"I am actually gleaming with excitement," she said. "I'm going to immediately start planning because I cannot wait to present my ideas in court regarding Rebecca Scofield and her role in the murder of the four University of Idaho students."