Hairy argument brings about questions of online harassment, free speech

Hairy argument brings about questions of online harassment, free speech »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A teen girl is upset after what she said is a bad dye job given to her at a local salon two weeks ago. Since then, she's been taking her frustration to Facebook.

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Now, the hairdresser said she feels bullied and wonders if the law can protect her.

Zueheidy Lopez said her recent trip to All About You Salon was anything but pleasant.

"She advertised on Facebook that she did hair. I'd seen her work, and it looked nice," said Lopez.

Lopez wanted her hair dyed blue. It's a look she'd seen worn by singer Katy Perry. She went to the salon asking for that look. Hairdresser Kamyelle Powell agreed, but shortly into the process Lopez said things didn't feel right.

"My neck started burning, like, it felt like someone put a straightener on the back of my neck," said Lopez.

When Powell finished, Lopez said she wasn't happy.

"It's horrible, I seen all these different colors. My hair is still falling out right now," said Lopez.

Lopez then asked for a refund but was told it was against salon policy.

Lopez said she went to Facebook to vent.

"I get horrible messages. I have people calling my phone at all hours of the night," said hairdresser Powell.

It's a situation attorney Barry Chase has seen before.

"If the young lady in question is telling the truth, then there is no defamation involved. There's no recovery and no legal wrong committed," said Chase.

However, Powell said her reputation is on the line.

"I don't want her to be known as a girl who is complaining. I don't want my salon to be known as a salon that messed up a girl's hair, because it happens," said Powell.

Chase contended that people are entitled to free speech, even on social media sites. The attorney, who is an unbiased third party contacted by Eyewitness News, agreed that freedom of speech is protected online, as long as what the people espouse is truthful.

However, the hairdresser said if the harassment doesn't end, she'll only have one option.

"I hope it doesn't come to using a court system, but if I'm continually harassed, I'm going to seek counsel," said Powell.

While the salon will not issue Lopez a full refund, Powell said they are willing to fix her hair for free.