Quick Hit: Maybe it’s her fault for having a shower?

The photo of a young Lara Bingle which has apparently been doing the rounds of the cricket and AFL players for some time now has been published in the Woman’s Day magazine. Woman’s Day say they did not pay for the image.  If you haven’t seen it, it is a head and shoulders shot of Lara with her arm covering her chest area, and an expression of distress on her face. She obviously did not consent to having this photo taken, much less published. She is now in the process of sueing the photographer, Brendan Fevola who apparently took the picture with a mobile phone. Bingle and Fevola were in a relationship at the time. The picture has also been on the front page of the HeraldSun and in other online newspapers.

The SMH today has an opinion on whether the defamation action would succeed:

Nicholas Pullen, a partner at TressCox lawyers, said Bingle would struggle to successfully sue Fevola unless she could prove he provided the photograph to Woman’s Day.‘‘Bingle would have to prove [the photograph] came from Fevola and then she would have to prove when Fevola sent it off, the reasonable person would expect it to end up in Woman’s Day,’’ Mr Pullen said. (SMH article here)

Not being a lawyer, I have to take his word for it. However, I would have expected a lawyer who deals with defamation to be a little more aware than to let loose something like this:

‘‘The next step in any defamation formula is, how is it making people think less of Lara Bingle than they already do. Well, she’s coming off a low base on that one. (my emphasis added)(ETA:An excellent explanation of defamation law at Skepticlawyer)

Then this:

‘‘In the version of the photograph I have seen, it doesn’t look like you are seeing terribly much more of Lara Bingle than you have already seen.

There is a difference. A big difference. It doesn’t matter that she uses her appearance to make money as a model. It’s a job, a well paid one, and she is within her rights to choose it. It is a choice that the patriarchy approves of. To say that then makes her fair game for anyone to take photos of her without permission and distribute them as they like is not an excuse for bad behaviour aimed at embarrassing and humiliating someone in public.

Update: Legal Eagle has done a post on the legalities of this case. Many thanks to LE.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, law & order, media

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8 replies

  1. When I heard some talking head say today that it wasn’t that different from pictures she’d had in skin mags, I saw red. Yes, a business transaction where everybody is absolutely clear up front exactly what images are going to be taken and how they are going to be submitted for publication is just exactly like a shithead boyfriend sneaking up and taking a picture without asking first and with no discussion of what will happen to the image afterwards. No difference at all! How could such a hussy have the expectation that her boyfriend wouldn’t just take snapshots of her naked body any damn time he liked without giving her any control over the distribution of the images?
    The contempt of these people for Bingle drips off their sneering lips every time they open them.

  2. The poor woman. This situation brings to mind the incident in the US where a female sports journalist was filmed in a hotel room without her consent, and the video was then plastered all over the internet. In that case, some people justified their consumption of the images* by noting that the journalist was always “covered up” while working, that she had denied them access to something they wanted and felt entitled to.
    According to some people (and news outlets) Ms Bingle has no right to demand privacy because she’s a bikini model. Ms Bingle’s right to privacy is not predicated on her “hotness” or her job description, it’s predicated on the fact that she’s a human bloody being!
    *According to what readers of some USian blogs I frequent reported people IRL as saying.

  3. The lawyer has his head up his butt. The issue here is whether there was any attempt to contact Bingle before they went ahead with publication (the same problem that came up with the ‘Hanson’ photographs that turned out to be so very, very fake).
    We’ve covered all the defamation issues that come into play here:
    Thanks SL, post updated with link ~ Mindy

    • SL, I think the lawyer is playing two games – one for court, and one for the media. The media game involves blackening Bingle as much as they can so that the public thinks that what Fevola did is no big deal, and therefore he continues to enjoy his sponsorship deals etc. The court game will involve trying to manoevre a settlement ASAP I reckon.

  4. The Woman’s Day is a disgusting cohort to this vileness.
    They apparently got the photo from somebody named Dylan*Howard.
    He and the WD need to be sued very efficiently.
    I have no interest in Ms.Bingle’s behaviour, but I l0athe the WdD and am reminded that Dr. Germaine Greer wrote once “most women have no idea how much men hate women”.

  5. LE has now written a post directly on point here, with relevant legal authorities:
    .-= skepticlawyer´s last blog ..‘For War is a Drug’ =-.

  6. Her body is not public property. How hard is it to understand this?

  7. And what about the news sites that have also run the photo? They are just as bad – actually, they’re worse because, unlike a magazine, they have a massive audience and stories are permanent.

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