Australian Teen With Wacky Mullet Sues The Media For Making A Meme Out Of His Haircut

from the did-streisand-have-a-mullet dept

We already know how bizarre defamation rules in Australia can be, but apparently even they have some limits down under. A teenager named Ali Ziggi Mosslmani (who goes by "Ziggy") got a bit of internet fame last year when a photographer, Jeremy Nool, took a picture of him at a birthday party and posted it to his Facebook page. People noticed Ziggy's somewhat unique mullet haircut, and the picture started to go viral:
As you can see, it has over 10,000 likes, almost 25,000 comments and over 1,500 shares. As these things tend to do, it also inspired people to create new meme images out of it. Here are just a few:


All a bit of internet fun. But, apparently, Ziggy had a bit of trouble taking the joke and went off and sued three Australian media outlets for mocking his haircut. As we've seen in other Australian defamation cases, it appears that the claims relied on this concept of "imputations" -- as in what the images "impute" about the individual. However, Ziggy and his lawyers basically tried to claim that the imputations of the memed images were basically the end of the world. And the judge didn't buy it.
Judge Gibson said Mosslmani’s case was “overpleaded” and appeared to be designed to “claim as many imputations as possible while simultaneously avoiding a defence of honest opinion or justification”.

The only imputation the judge allowed was that “the plaintiff is a ridiculous person because he wears a controversial haircut”.

“The plaintiff is entitled to plead an imputation of condition – namely being a ridiculous person for having such a hairstyle – as well as an imputation amounting to an act. This imputation is reasonably capable of being conveyed and will go to the jury”.

The imputation that he was “hideously ugly” was rejected despite the headline saying the complainant had a “ridiculous haircut” .
I'm still confused as to how an "imputation" that someone "is a ridiculous person because he wears a controversial haircut" could possibly be defamation, but, hey, that's Australia.

In the meantime, Ziggy will have to pay some of the costs of the media organizations he sued for the overpleading efforts. And the judge has suggested that maybe he should recognize the humor in this and the fact that it's not all negative:
District Court judge Judith Gibson mulled over the evidence and declared that Mosslmani’s Texas tailgate “generated a great deal of interest on the internet, most of it humorous.”
In other words, yes, the judge found the memes funny herself. She also noted that all the "likes" on the Facebook post suggested that people liked the image, rather than that they were mocking Ziggy.
“However, the publication goes on to say that the photograph has generated 11,415 comments, 10,000 likes and 1.7m views, which suggests that the hairstyle has its fans and opponents, but is not indicative of ugliness; to the contrary, 10,000 people pressed the ‘like’ button,” Judge Gibson said.
Meanwhile, this lawsuit and ruling is creating something of a Streisand Effect. Before this, it seemed that the meme was mostly known in Australia, but thanks to the lawsuit, it's going global. I hadn't seen it prior to the lawsuit, but now it's everywhere. And the photographer who took the image, Nool, seems to be having a lot of fun with it. He got to go on an Australian morning TV program and has been happily sharing the meme'd images himself:

Filed Under: ali ziggi mosslmani, australia, defamation, imputations, jeremy nool, memes, mullet, mullet meme, reputation, ziggy mosslmani


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 6:47am

    Part of going by the name Ziggy means having to accept all the misfortune you're going to experience 7 days a week and in color on Sunday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 6:50am

    Weird, I knew a guy in high school (like 20 years ago) with that exact same hairdo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 6:58am

    Man, you got the babe and a lot of fame in the net so just laugh it off and move on.

    I'd particularly try to let some hair grow in the top and paint a white strip in the middle to make it look like Pepe le pew for added lulz after seeing the memes.

    It seems to me people kind of lost their sense of humor lately.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 7:01am

    When you sue for butthurt, you often end up much more butthurt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechnoMage (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 7:09am

    Am I the only one....?

    Who thinks this picture actually helps his reputation... because look at that girl he is dancing with...

    If he can still get a girl like that with that stupid haircut, it means he has a LOT going for him other than just physical appearance...

    *shrugs*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 7:34am

    Wrong target?

    Surly he should be suing his barber?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 8:01am

    Probably needs a Tic Tac

    A guy known by his name and his weird hair, with no sense of humor and a tendency towards frivolous litigation. With his hands all over the nearest woman.

    Sounds familiar...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 8:10am

    Too much time in the sun.

    That Australian sunshine can do some awful things. Cutting the hair-cover has cooked the brain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 8:12am

    mulled over the evidence

    I see what you did there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    timmaguire42 (profile), 28 Oct 2016 @ 10:05am

    I could have saluted him, but I won't

    It's no mean feat to stand next to a girl like that and have the discussion be about him. Why did he get that haircut if not to generate attention?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 11:58am

    Bitches being bitches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 2:30pm

    The whole reason for a such a haircut is to get attention.

    So he got the attention. But then decided he didn't like it. Maybe he should have thought of that first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 4:19pm

    Ali Ziggi Mosslmani (who goes by "Ziggy")

    He could always start going by Ziggi and get giggity

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2016 @ 4:21pm

    Ali Ziggi Mosslmani (who goes by "Ziggy")

    He could always get giggity and start going by Ziggity. Or "big zit"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    G Thompson (profile), 29 Oct 2016 @ 12:29am

    Guys you haven't seen the funniest thing yet..

    The case itself has resulted in one of the greatest Australian legal documents EVER!

    for example [at 5]

    (iv) That the plaintiff, by reason of his mullet hairstyle, has justifiably exposed himself to ridicule by the public.
    (v) The plaintiff is a joke.
    (vi) The plaintiff is a ridiculous person.
    (vii) The plaintiff is hideously ugly.
    (viii) The plaintiff is a ridiculous person because he wears a silly haircut.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha


    The whole Judgement for your reading pleasure :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 29 Oct 2016 @ 1:03am

    One word for Ziggy - Moron!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2016 @ 6:34am

    He looks like an absolute douche.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Get off my lawn!!, 29 Oct 2016 @ 7:42pm

    What happens to all of these fragile and easily offended citizens of first-world nations on the day after something real and life-changing happens?
    Imagine another world war or some great catastrophe like a modern-day great depression? How will all of these extremely sensitive fragile flowers take care of themselves and their loved ones in the face of real tragedy and deprivation? I think we've doomed ourselves as a species as the innate ability to thrive under difficult circumstances has been wiped from our collective DNA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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