The mother of Modern Family's Ariel Winter has filed a defamation lawsuit against an actor who works for her adult daughter, The Associated Press reports.
Chrisoula "Chrystal" Workman filed suit against Mathew Borlenghi Monday, claiming he called her an "abusive monster" in an online comment to a Nov. 9 Los Angeles Times story about Workman's custody battle for Winter and has harmed her reputation.
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Borlenghi is a soap opera actor who teaches at a studio run by Shanelle Gray, Winter's older sister who has temporary guardianship of the 14-year-old after Workman was accused
of physically and emotionally abusing Winter.
Borlenghi reportedly posted a comment in response to an L.A. Times
article documenting Workman's allegations that her daughter was having sex with her 18-year-old boyfriend. "This is a total falsehood," the comment attributed to Borlenghi reads. "The mother is grasping and clawing to find a way not to lose her money-maker, and hide the fact that she is an abusive monster. Having spent time with her, and seeing the way she acted adoringly towards the boy, these accusations are disgusting, just as she is."
Borlenghi declined to say whether he wrote the comment. "All I can say is that David [Gray] and Shanelle Gray are very close friends of mine and comments that Chris has made are absolutely fabricated," Borlenghi told the AP. "The negative comments she's made about her own daughter in order to try to get custody back of Ariel are truly disgusting."
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Workman continues to deny any abuse on her part and claims Borlenghi posted his comments "with personal animosity, hatred and ill will" and with the "knowledge that they (were) false and without any reasonable grounds for believing that they were true."
Workman is seeking damages for her loss of reputation, in addition to the "shame, mortification and hurt feeling" she suffered as a result of the comment.