Empire State Building Supposedly Sues Photographer Over Photograph Of Topless Woman
from the based-on-what? dept
The story is almost too good to be true for the press. Apparently, the company that owns the famous Empire State Building in NY is suing photographer Allen Henson for $1.1 million because he took a photo of a model named Shelby Carter, posing topless up on one of the ESB’s observation decks. I’ve read nearly a dozen articles about the lawsuit, and I’ve noticed one thing: every one of them contains one or more of the photos of Carter topless (some pixelate or otherwise cover her breasts, some do not), and every one of them includes direct and different quotes from Henson who seemed quite willing to talk to anyone and everyone about the story and who freely admitted that it was good publicity for his ongoing efforts to photograph topless women around NYC, after a police announcement last year that it’s not illegal for women to be topless in NY. However, none of them seem to include the actual lawsuit. We won’t post the photos here. You can see them at basically every other link in this post. The closest to having the actual lawsuit (and this surprises me) is the NY Daily News, which at least notes that the lawsuit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, and at least suggests the cause of action:
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, ESRT Empire State Building says photographer Allen Henson caused “damage to its business and reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction” by taking pictures of a woman without her shirt on there this past August 9.
I’d really like to see the actual lawsuit to see on what basis the company is making this claim. Yes, the Empire State Building is private property, so its owners can easily kick Henson off the property and even bar him from returning. But I can’t see how they have any legal argument at all for demanding $1.1 million. From some of the other comments, there appears to be some allegations that the actions are “commercial” and that it cost the Empire State Building extra money to beef up security while decreasing the Empire State Building’s “reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction.” I’m still not clear how that amounts to something you can sue someone over, let alone for $1 million. But, until someone actually provides the lawsuit (and Henson himself seems to suggest he hasn’t even seen it either), it’s difficult to understand the details. I have some emails out, and hopefully someone in the press will stop focusing on getting up photos of this woman’s breasts for long enough to see if they can get a copy of the actual lawsuit to post as well.