A woman who contends she was photographed without her consent while clad in a topless mermaid outfit at Sean Combs' annual "White Party" has no privacy claim against the rap mogul or the magazine that ultimately printed the image, a New York state judge has ruled.
The photo of three bare-breasted women, entitled "Mermaids gone wild," was taken during summer 2003 in East Hampton, N.Y., and published along with a feature article on Combs in the November 2006 issue of Vibe Magazine.
Maria Kristina Dominguez alleged that Combs and Vibe violated her right to privacy by using the image without her permission. She also claimed the magazine article amounted to advertising for the rapper and his label, Bad Boy Entertainment Inc.
But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan held that the mermaid photo "bore a reasonable relationship" to matters of "tremendous public interest" -- namely Comb's career and his "renowned annual White Party." In dismissing Dominguez's claims under §§50 and 51 of the New York Civil Rights Law, the judge noted that "it is the content of the article and not defendants' motive ... to increase circulation which determines whether it is a newsworthy item, as opposed to trade usage, under the Civil Rights Law." The case is Dominguez v. Vibe Magazine, 112004/07.
Judge Beaches Topless Mermaid's Privacy Suit Against Sean Combs, Magazine
New York Law Journal
September 24, 2008