James v. Gannett Co.
New York Court of Appeals
353 N.E.2d 834 (1976)
Samantha James (plaintiff) was a professional belly dancer. An article about James appeared in a newspaper published by Gannett Co., Inc. (defendant). The article described James’s background, her approach to her business, and her dancing routines. The article stated that James “admits to selling her time to lonely old men with money, for as much as $400 an evening in one case, ‘just to sit with him and be nice to him.’” James was also quoted as saying: “Most men can talk to me. They can’t talk to their wives because they’re blocked by society. . . . They’re looking for something they’ve lost at home. This is my business. Men is my business.” James sued Gannett for defamation, alleging that the statement about selling her time to lonely old men and the quotation “men is my business” meant and were intended to mean that James was offering her body and time for sale, was committing prostitution and adultery, and had low moral character. The court granted Gannett’s motion for summary judgment. The appellate court reversed. Gannett appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Jasen, J.)
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