Hustler Magazine Case Study

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485 U.S. 46 Facts: Hustler Magazine is an adult magazine portraying graphic images. At the time of the publication, it was not uncommon for Hustler Magazine to publish satirical ads depicted a famous person. Jerry Falwell, the plaintiff, is a well-known Southern Baptist Pastor with conservative views. Because of his status of being well known, he is generally considered a public figure. In the case at issue, Hustler Magazine published an ad in which it depicted Jerry Falwell's "first sexual experience". The ad then contained a depiction of him in an incestuous relationship with his own mother. Marked at the bottom of the ad was that the depiction was a parody and not intended to portray true events. Jerry Falwell filed three charges against Hustler Magazine in West Virginia's U.S. District Court: invasion of privacy, libel, and emotional distress. The presiding Judge dismissed the invasion of privacy charge, as Jerry Falwell was a public figure, and as such, waves most of his rights to invasion of privacy. On the charge of libel, the jury found against Falwell. They claimed that the ad was clearly a parody, and as such, no reasonable person would believe the accusation made by the…show more content…
Falwell, the court held that because it had been conceded at all levels that the publication is of a satirical nature, that the above document fell into the precedent set by the latter two cases. Although the publication was deemed offensive, it is not enough in its offensiveness alone to prove damages owed. Instead, Falwell must have shown that the ad was created with the intent to cause emotional harm against him, in accordance with the first case cited. And accordingly, Falwell would have to prove that the ad was not solely a satirical representation of a public figure. In this case, there was not enough evidence to show that the ad was created to target him emotionally as a person, as such, there was no basis to award him damages under the

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