In his 1969 novel “The Promise”, the Rabbi Chaim Potok has one of the characters, Michael speak about lashon hara.
“There’s a rabbi in the Talmud who….says there’s no atonement for lashon hara.”
The Hebrew term lashon hara refers to speech (communication) about someone that is negative in nature; that may cause anguish or damage to someone; that does not make a situation better.
Importantly, the prohibitions on lashon hara hold even if what is said is true, and apply to both speakers and listeners
“Before you speak, you focus on why you want to speak. This helps get you in touch with all the machinations taking place in the committee of voices running your mind. If you see any unskillful motives lurking behind the committee’s decisions, you veto them.”