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)
‘‘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.