LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Louisville business owner is fighting for his reputation and the livelihood of his downtown bar after a string of sexual assault allegations spread across social media.
Matthew Landan, who owns Haymarket Whiskey Bar in downtown Louisville, has filed a lawsuit against several different people claiming defamation.
Less than 24 hours after Landan re-opened Haymarket Whiskey Bar, stickers reading "Make Rapists Afraid Again" and the word "die" could be found on the face of the business.
"He's pretty stoic so he's hasn't been emotional about it but he has expressed legitimate anxiety about the potential risk to him and his family and also the future of the business," Andrew Horne said.
Horne, Landan's attorney, filed a lawsuit Wednesday, on his client's behalf.
It claims defamation, stating a Facebook post that reads, "MATTHEW LANDAN IS A RAPIST" started a social media campaign against Landan falsely accusing him of sexual assault. A different account accused his business of spiking drinks.
"He needs to make a statement to stand up and say these claims are malicious and false and that he's going to continue to operate his business,” Horne said.
Minutes after opening Wednesday night, about a dozen protesters lined up outside of the business.
Jessica Carson was one of them.
"I hope it gets shut down again and I hope people keep speaking out about it,” Carson said.
Police said they can't confirm if there have been any complaints made against Landan, but to say he has not been arrested or charged.
The lawsuit states the social media accusations damaged Landan's reputation and that of his bar.
It names former employees who walked out of the business, and "Jane Does" who posted accusations against Landan.
"For the people that made a lot of these false allegations and shared them and repeated them, the ones we can identify and get ahold of, we're going to take action on,” Horne said.
WHAS11 has been reaching out to the people making those posts since they started surfacing on Facebook two weeks ago, but have not been able to speak with them or attempt to verify those claims.
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