Manzari v. Associated Newspapers, Ltd.

Popular soft-porn star adduced prima facie proof that in publishing her picture with an article about HIV in the L.A. porn industry the defendant  news website edited her picture and its caption, making it more likely that the article would imply plaintiff had HIV, thus overcoming defendant’s Anti-SLAPP motion in her defamation suit.  This decision affirms the district court’s denial of defendant’s Anti-SLAPP motion in a defamation suit arising from the Daily Mail’s publication of plaintiff’s picture with an article about the LA porn industry being shut down because of a female performer in the industry had tested positive for HIV.  Manzari is a famous soft porn star with a much visited website.  The picture of her run with the HIV article was a stock photo with her name in neon lights over her stretched out on a bed.  Manzari is a public figure who had to show malice in order to prevail on a defamation claim.  This she did sufficiently to overcome the Anti-SLAPP motion by showing that defendants knew her image would be associated with the HIV theme of the article though she in fact was not and defendants not only did not place any disclaimers near her picture but affirmatively removed the caption that came with the stock picture, replacing it with verbiage about the HIV scare.  Also, taken as a whole, the picture with the associated article would have suggested a defamatory meaning to an average reader; namely, that Manzari had tested positive for HIV, though the facts were otherwise.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (McKeown, J.); July 25, 2016; 2016 WL 3974178



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