According to reports, Jessica Simpson is being sued after OK! Magazine used a picture of another couple’s child and portrayed it as being Jessica’s.
“What happened in this situation was wrong,” said Michael North, the attorney. “It’s not something that ever should happen. Our immediate aim is to find out how it happened and why it happened and determine who is responsible.”
The couple asserts an invasion of privacy and emotional distress caused by the celebrity news magazine, which boasts a weekly circulation of 4.5 million and a website that attracts more than 7.3 million views per month. The couple is seeking damages that appear to be no more than $75,000.
Attorneys representing Simpson, OK! owner American Media Inc.and Getty Images, whose subsidiary sold the photograph, have not responded to the lawsuit. Representatives of those defendants could not be reached immediately for comment Friday.
The lawsuit stems from the singer and television personality’s October 2011 visit to the Dillard’s department store at Lakeside to promote her clothing line. Customers who spent $50 or more were given the opportunity to meet Simpson, according to the lawsuit.
Holding his infant son Christopher, Hurst stood in line with his teen-aged daughter so she could meet Simpson and get an autograph. Hurst alleges that a man he did not know suggested he let Simpson hold the infant. Hurst declined but then agreed when a woman in line behind him suggested the same thing and offered to take a picture with her phone’s camera, according to the lawsuit.
“When Hurst handed Christopher to Simpson, at least one previously unseen photographer hurriedly moved to the front of the line and began taking pictures of the child,” according to the lawsuit. “The photographer did not identify himself or ask Hurst’s permission to take or disseminate any photographs of Christopher.”
The woman in line behind him took pictures on her phone and sent them to Hurst via text messages. The matter was over until April 16, 2012, when that woman contacted Hurst againt to say the infant’s picture was on the front of OK! Magazine, according to the lawsuit.
The headline splashed across the cover said “My First Days as a New Mom,” with a photo near the bottom of Simpson and Christopher.
Christopher’s parents never signed a release allowing the child’s photo to be used, and neither the person thought to have taken the photo, Kevin Mazur, nor Getty Images or American Media Inc., sought permission to do so, according to the lawsuit.
North, the plaintiff’s attorney, alleges that a competing publication paid Simpson $800,000 for the rights to publish the first photographs of her actual child. He also cites unnamed but “widely reported” allegations that OK! magazine has paid “multiple millions of dollars” to other celebrities for rights to first publish photos of their children.
“In the case of Christopher Hurst, OK! magazine paid him nothing, despite clear intention to mislead some or all of the consuming public into believing the photograph on the cover of the subject issue was actually Simpson’s first child,” North wrote. Simpson’s first child had not yet been born when the photo was taken.
Getty allegedly had the photo for sale or licensing on its website until March, when the company removed it after Hurst and Gregory complained, according to the lawsuit.
The parents allege that Simpson knew that she would appear on front of the magazine with Christopher in her arms and that she had financial motive through the publicity she received. A month after the photo’s publication, she launched a line of maternity clothing, they said.
The lawsuit, filed in April, has been allotted to Judge Conn Regan. The plaintiffs seek a jury trial. Summonses were sent out in early May.
SMH…at least it’s a cute baby!
via Daily Mail