If someone spreads false rumors about you to harm your reputation, you can sue him for slander or libel. Slander is when the rumor is spoken, and libel is when it is written; both are illegal. Even if you sue the person for damages and win in court, the damage to your reputation might remain. One way to clear your name is to write a letter explaining what actually occurred, if anything, and denying the rumor.
Decide to whom you should send your letter. If you are a public figure in your community and the rumor was made very publicly, you might benefit most from writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to clear your name. If the damage to your reputation happened in the workplace, you might decide to send your letter via email or to post it somewhere in the workplace.
Read More: How to Use a Cease and Desist Letter to Stop Slander and Libel
Begin the letter by giving a brief overview of the rumors. Do not go into detail because some people might not have been aware of the specifics of the rumors — and by recounting them in detail, you are spreading the rumors further.
Deny each rumor in calm, professional language. If you have evidence that demonstrates that the rumors are not true, explain that evidence or offer to show it to anyone who may be interested.
Thank the letter recipient or recipients for their time. Assure them that you would like to put the matter behind you are resume normal life as soon as possible.
Sign the letter with your name.
Writing a letter to deny the rumors may work against you because some people might not have heard the rumors and you will be making them more public instead of letting them die down.
You may be very tempted to attack the person spreading the rumors but refrain from mentioning the source of the rumors specifically. Your professionalism will lend credibility to your claims that the rumors are not true.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.