Claiming that he has been unfairly branded a "douchebag" in the book "Hot Chicks with Douchebags," a Las Vegas man has filed a libel lawsuit against the volume's author and publisher. Michael Minelli, a 27-year-old club promoter, claims that the inclusion of his photograph in the book has subjected him to "hatred, contempt, and humiliation" and has resulted in "friends, acquaintances, coworkers, employees, and strangers alike" calling him a "douchebag."
As seen below, Minelli's photo appears on page 202 of author Jay Louis's book, which was published in July by Simon & Schuster. In the book, Louis noted that Minelli's "popped-collar, spikey-haired presence was so far beyond regular douche, so far beyond uberdouche, he could spontaneously create a new element on the periodic tables -- Douche Nine."
At the time he was photographed by Louis, Minelli was working the door at the popular "Rehab" party at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. As first reported by Courthouse News Service, Minelli's Clark County District Court lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages and legal fees.
Last month, three New Jersey women sued Louis and his publisher over their appearance in "Hot Chicks with Douchebags," which they claimed was "vulgar" and presented them as "females who date dubious men."
Alleged "Douchebag" Sues Author
Tags: doomed, mutants
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Publicly humiliate people in book and those people get mad and make your life annoying/hell/miserable. What a surprise.
They're just suing him. Presumably Simon and Schuster had a contingency plan in place when they gave the go-ahead on a book with "douchebags" in the title.
Ha! Well put.
Sure they do.
"Hello, Mr. Douche? There's this little thing called the First Amendment that allows us to insult you to your face so long as we aren't actually spreading slanderous information about you. You can either drop the suit, and we'll generously remove your picture from future printings, or you can continue the suit, in which case we will drag this case out as long as we can, costing you more in legal fees than you could ever conceivably hope to recoup, because we'll wind up settling the case before it ever actually goes to trial by removing your picture from future printings and giving you a paltry sum of money that you can buy one, or maybe two outfits with. And you'll be known as a douche for the rest of your life. Good day."
Wow. Spouting off aggressively online about a subject you
clearly have no knowledge of whatsoever. If only there were
a term for people who do this ...
Anyway, check allegations number 27 and 33. There will
definitely be some contention with those. And of course
it will settle. Almost everything does. That has nothing at
all to do with who pays the lawyers.
I agree that there may definitely be some room here. Probably the biggest issue is going to be the use of his image for commercial purpose without consent.
As far as libel, however, regardless of how the case turns out the first amendment really ought to cover free speech to the point that I can make a defamatory statement based entirely on opinion even with intended malice if it concerns an area that is entirely subjective; e.g. I cannot call him an adulterer as that could be false defamation of character predicated on something that could be objectively provable based on accepted standards, but calling someone an idiot or an shitstain is a statement of opinion.
"If the douchebag fits, you must acquit."
Opinion is a defense. But generally it must be opinion free of
ill will. They spend some time arguing that ill will was the name
of the game here. Additionally, they make the point that the
book specifically defines a douchebag as a feminine hygiene
device; possibly to argue that "Jay is a feminine hygiene device"
is a falsifiable statement of fact.
Finally, have a look at Milkovich v. Lorain Journal in which the
supreme court held the 1st amendment does not provide an
automatic opinion exemption.
Sorry for babbling on like this. It's just that Douchebag v. Douchebag
cases are always so much fun.
IANAL, but the biggest problem I have with this is that I feel the first amendment should, by it's basic concept of protecting freedom of speech, protect your right to have and express any opinion you wish. Even if it is made with ill will.
I think this might run into some trouble trying to claim that the intent was to defame the defendant, however. I doubt they were, they just wanted to make him look foolish.
The First Amendment *does* protect your right to express any opinion you like. (The right to *have* any opinion is codified elsewhere.) However, it does not grant you absolute protection from the consequences of such an expression. Libel law (including slander) comes with lots of conditions and caveats, but if you damage someone's reputation enough to cause them significant harm, they will have a case.
The First Amendment does make a defamation lawsuit into an uphill battle, as well it should. But it's not blanket protection for the writer or speaker.
His point was that it SHOULD, not that it DOES.
They do. The standard publishing contract, which says the author gets to pay for as many lawyers as the publisher cares to hire to defend themselves.
Ehh, i was going to comment the other way around.
"Maybe if you weren't a douchebag, you wouldn't have been in the book." or something similar. Cuz he totally looks like a douchebag.
Is the onus on him to prove that he is not a douchebag? I think that would be a hard sell to the jury. And if he looses then he has to live with not only being in the book but having legally been declared a douche ipso facto
The truth is an absolute defence against libel.
The truth is an absolute defence against libel.
WARNING: This is not true in all jurisdictions -- especially in England. And the English courts are particularly partial to hearing cases brought by foreigners who are offended at things other foreigners said in a book if even one or two imported copies arrived in an English bookstore. Google on "libel shopping" if you don't believe me.
(The douchebag in this case is the individual who bought suit in a country where truth is an absolute defense, rather than hunting for a copy of the book on Charing Cross Road then hiring Carter-Ruck and partners on contingency to go after the deep pocket target in the Old Bailey.)
OK, yes. In all civilized countries, the truth is an absolute defence against libel. In the occasional backwater pseudomonarchy, that might not hold true, but everywhere with modern amenities like working plumbing and decent food should be OK.
That would include Singapore, yes?
According to this random page I found on the Intarwebs, truth *is* a defence in England:
If a statement is defamatory but true, it isn't libel.
The difference seems to be that the *defendant* must prove the statement is true. In other words, the defendant is guilty until proven innocent. If anything this is worse. Ho hum.
Not a lawyer blah blah blah, but I believe there are true statements which are still libellous in England & Wales.
Memory is telling me that one example is that if I say X is a criminal because they did Y, but that offence is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. (Googles: ah, I was right, if I do so with "malice".)
There is also a huge difference between what you know to be true and what you can prove in a court is true.
Duh - if I say you're an evil axe murderer who eats babies after having sex with them, how are you going to prove that you're not, rather than previously successful at keeping it quiet?
Which, to answer the question, means that if the plaintiff makes his case that the book called him a douchebag and thus damaged him, the onus is on the publisher to show that he really is a douchebag.
In related news, the website "bandname.com" crashed today when 14,257 goth/industrial acts all tried to register the name "Douche 9" at the same time.
oh man. I loved them before they sold out
Thanks for supplying my RDA of irony.
He kind of looks like Paul Oakenfold.
Wait a minute, I thought the position of Las Vegas club promoter had douche bag as requirement. Huh.
you beat me to it!
"Your honor, the plaintiff promoted an event named "Rehab", which implies a need to be rehabilitated. Certainly being reffered to as a 'Douche' or even an 'Uber-douche' causes less harm to his reputation than that of a 'popped collar, spikey haired recovering coke fiend'... oh wait... never mind.
"Hot Chicks with Douchebags"? Would it not be reasonable to assume that some hot chicks that date douchebags are in fact douchebags themselves? And they're exempt from douchebag status because they're hot? Gotta love sexist double standards.
I never cut hot girls slack for making stupid choices. Unless I want to sleep with them of course.
I have not read the book, but I would not be the least bit surprised if upon reading it, determined that the purpose of the book was to prove that "hot chicks" are, in fact, douchebags.
But your last line makes me wonder if your title means "A feminist rant about something hypocritical" or "A feminist rant that is hypocritical."
My understanding is that "douchebag" is gender-specific to males, like "asshole".
Which is strange, considering what a douche is...
Well, going by the cover of the book that is not a "hot chick", but definitely a female douchebag.
"Your honor, we the jury find the dependent to be a douche bag."
They could give him a certificate or something.
Hmm... I've just used the term "douche lord" for a long time. No need for some sort of silly "Douche Nine" phrasing. "Douche nozzle" also seems to be gaining in popularity.