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Douglass v. Hustler Magazine, Inc.

769 F.2d 1128 (1985)

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Douglass v. Hustler Magazine, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

769 F.2d 1128 (1985)

Facts

Actress Robyn Douglass (plaintiff) posed nude twice for photographer Augustin Gregory (defendant) for Playboy magazine. Douglass appeared nude eight times in Playboy, made television commercials for advertising agencies, and starred in movies. Hustler Magazine, Inc. (Hustler) (defendant) wanted to publish nude photos of celebrities, and during negotiations for becoming Hustler’s photography editor, Gregory showed Hustler his Douglass photographs. Gregory submitted to Hustler two releases signed by Douglass, one for each of the two pictorials. The parties stipulated that a handwriting expert would testify that one of Douglass’s signatures was forged and that the second signature could not be authenticated. Hustler featured Douglass in an issue containing nude photographs intended for Playboy. Two photos showed Douglass straddling another woman and engaging in sexual activity. Hustler quoted Douglass that when preparing for an audition she “went through the script to find the climactic moments” for her character. Hustler added the caption “From the looks of Robyn, she’s never had difficulty finding climactic moments.” Douglass sued Gregory and Hustler, alleging they invaded her right of privacy by casting her in a false light. Douglas claimed that Hustler insinuated she was a lesbian and was willing to be shown naked in Hustler. Douglass claimed that voluntary association with Hustler was degrading. Douglass presented evidence that advertising agencies did not want her to star in commercials after appearing in Hustler but did not care about her appearing nude in Playboy. The jury awarded Douglass $600,000 in damages. Hustler appealed, arguing that its publication could not be degrading to a woman who had posed nude for Playboy.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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