Ava v. NYP Holdings, Inc.

NY: Appellate Div., 1st Dept.
64 AD 3d 407
885 NYS 2d 247
July 02, 2009
The complaint asserts a number of causes of action, including one for libel, the only claim relevant to this appeal. Plaintiff claims that the article referred to and quoted from three MySpace pages that she did not maintain and did not place material on, and that the Post defendants knew that plaintiff did not maintain the pages and that they were "forgeries." Although plaintiff alleges that several statements in the article are defamatory, only one is relevant on appeal. Thus, plaintiff alleges that the statement that "[o]n one [of the MySpace pages], [plaintiff] gives a graphic depiction of a `masturbatory fantasy' she has of being with multiple men and then multiple women" implied that she is "a promiscuous slut" and is libelous per se.
Writing for the majority, Justice Sullivan stated that "[t]he allegations of the complaint are ... sufficient to state a cause of action for defamation based on the publication of plaintiff's picture in a sexually suggestive manner allegedly falsely implying that he is sexually lustful and promiscuous, that he advertises erotic photographs and that he endorses and subscribes to the sexual attitudes and views expressed in [the publisher]'s publications. The sexual overtones of his photograph are underscored by the text of the advertisement, which, in part, states, `Lust is swirling and seething, lithe and languid, omnipresent and omnipotent' and `LUST—when a body is much more than a work of art.'