Local fetish promoter Jennifer Skrukwa, aka Jennifer Zurba and commonly known as Jennifer S. within the kink community and online, has been hit with two lawsuits in recent weeks.
The more serious of the two lawsuits was first reported on by the website Courthouse News last week. Reporter Darryl Greer* reported that Skrukwa is being sued for defamation in BC Supreme Court. The suit alleges that Skrukwa posted status updates on the website Fetlife.com in which she claimed a local man sexually and physically assaulted two women; claims, the suit alleges, Skrukwa knew to be false.
Greer immediately thought the case was significant. “That lawsuit was quite fascinating because I’m unaware of any other libel claims arising out of a status update on a social networking site,” Greer wrote in an email.
A Complicated Story
A post from the plaintiff in the case, “J,” alleges the trouble began for him as follows: “On July 31, 2012, Jennifer_S contacted me by telephone and advised me that she had given my real name and telephone number to the RCMP as part of the Cpl Brown investigation. She also called my partner and informed her of what she had done and asked her if we were married. (A very odd question.) When I asked her why she had released my details, she said it didn’t matter why, it was done and that was it. When I pressed her for further information, she hung up on me.”
An RCMP officer shared recently that to the best of his knowledge Skrukwa had not been in touch with the RCMP at that point. Why Skrukwa would indicate to J that she had been, and then refuse to make any statements about that is a source of speculation in the local kink community.
Through his lawyer, the complainant in the case declined to be interviewed by Erotic Vancouver. Those close to him have pointed out that Skrukwa’s allegations against him came only after he had spoken out against her, a tactic they say is common for her.
Skrukwa is also being sued in small claims court by former landlord Newcorp Properties. While the suit itself, for rent as a result of breaking her lease, has no relation to the defamation suit, some of the allegations contained within it further bring Skrukwa’s honesty into question. Landlord Newcorp Properties claims that Skrukwa had entered into the lease under both her name and doing business as Loving Life Centre Ltd. In Schedule A of their suit they claim “The Defendant is not incorporated under either the laws of the Province of British Columbia or the laws of Canada.”
To include “Ltd.” in a company name you must be incorporated according to BC law.
Newcorp also states in the suit that Skrukwa was “to use the Premises for the purposes of general office space, consulting as well as conducting business as a ‘Life Coach Company’ and for no other purposes.” The premises were in actuality the home of Libido Lounge, which held regular sex parties in addition to educational sex seminars. Skrukwa regularly made claims that she had “dotted all her i’s and crossed all her t’s,” to make sure she was properly licensed for such parties.
At the time the Lounge closed Skrukwa indicated it was because of an insurance issue. No mention of breaking her lease was made.
Controversy and Name Calling
Skrukwa has been mired in controversy recently, stemming from a related post on Fetlife in the discussion group “Vancouver BDSM,” on August 1st, in which it was alleged that someone in the local kink community had provided the names of other kinky individuals to the RCMP. This person was identified by this Erotic Vancouver blogger as Skrukwa later in the same thread. Most of the controversy stems from the fact that Skrukwa ran the event company Libido Events and the now-defunct sex positive space Libido Events; other posters to the group believed that the identifying information Skrukwa was alleged to have provided was gained from lounge membership records.
The thread quickly became a sounding board for those supporting Skrukwa, and those who pointed to this as simply the most recent ethical breach by the promoter. Alleged cases of outing individuals in the past and suggestions that she had improperly made accusations about other promoters’ events began to mount up. Skrukwa herself did not join the fray, although her husband did. Posting under the screen name “gentle_warrior,” he called those speaking out “sad pathetic voices,” “sad pathetic losers,” and “jabber jaws.”
Several other threads have since taken up the discussion, and with the lawsuit and subsequent press coverage the debate has gone network wide.
Waiting on Answers
As criticism of Skrukwa has mounted online and in the kink community, she’s fought a fierce battle back. She has made statements attacking the character and actions of those who have questioned her, including towards this blogger. It was the most serious of these attacks that has lead to the Supreme Court suit.
Skrukwa had not returned calls by the time this article was posted to answer questions about the lawsuit.
While the local kink community continues to ask questions about what has happened, it seems that those answers might have to be found in court.
Reive Doig and Jennifer Skrukwa were business partners from 2000-2003. The split was not amicable. In 2011 Reive Doig agreed to present a seminar and give the keynote address at a conference organized by Skrukwa before backing out citing “ethical concerns.”
*CORRECTION: This story originally misspelled the first name of reporter Darryl Greer.