Minor Who Asserted She Was A Prostitute Not Defamed by Show Reporting Her Story
Description Trial court dismissed a suit filed by a minor who volunteered to be on a talk show where she presented herself as a prostitute. While the story was false, she presented the falsehood, so the show, which had attempted to verify her story, is not liable for defamation.
Topic Torts
Key Words Defamation; Talk Show
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Misty Weber appeared on a Sally Jessy Raphael Show called "I Want My Teen Daughter Off the Streets," which concerned teenage prostitution. Weber was 15. She identified herself as a prostitute and said that her mother was a physically abusive junkie. Apparently she was a run away, but not a prostitute. Weber was "found" for the show by an expert in teenage prostitution who worked with troubled teens. He believed Weber's story to be true. Weber asserts she told the expert she was not a prostitute, but that he did not care because he wanted her on the show. As a minor, Weber was required to turn in a consent form signed by a parent. She forged her mother's signature. After her appearance on the show, she contends she was shunned by her family and has suffered humiliation. The show producers moved for dismissal.
Decision Case dismissed. Under New York law there is no liability "if the defamatory statement is exposed to a third party by the person claiming to be defamed." Weber identified herself as a prostitute so she cannot assert that the information was falsely presented by the media. Further, the show producers had attempted to verify the accuracy of her statement, so they were not negligent in their dealings with a minor.
Citation Weber v. Multimedia Entertainment, Inc., 2000 WL 526726 (Slip Copy. S.D.N.Y., 2000)

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