pop culture, pittsburgh, and potpouri

Friday, April 18, 2008

Defamer Lives up To Its Name

I can't help but be interested in the on going conflict over on Defamer between the website and two Marilyn Monroe enthusiasts. I am going to keep this clearly an opinion post, because I don't want to be dragged into the legal battle. I am also going to link to the so called defamatory article and not quote it for fear of being accused of re-publication. Anyway, there was a news story that there was this Marilyn Monroe sex tap that was sold to some wealthy millionaire in New York. Apparently, a Marilyn Monroe expert, who has a documentary coming out, named Keya Morgan said that he brokered the deal. Then Defamer got another Marilyn Monroe expert, Mark Bellinghaus, to look into Morgan's claim. What followed was a Defamer article where Mark Bellinghaus said that in his professional opinion and from talking to Morgan, he felt the video tape doesn't exist, and that this is a publicity stunt. Of Course lawyers have now gotten involved, and you can read the back and forth between Gawker counsel and Morgans reps on Defamer today. I am interested in this because this is the area of the law I have focused on in school. In my opinion this is not defamation, and even if some of what Bellinghaus said is false and found to be damaging to Morgans's reputation, they are going to have to prove that Defamer and Bellinghaus printed it knowing it was false or recklessly indifferent to its validity. Morgan is most certainly a public figure. Look at his IMDB page. There is no way a successful defamation lawsuit can be brought in this case. But, Morgans troubles have not ended there. Now The Smoking Gun has come forward with its claim that Morgan has taken artistic liberty with how the film was obtained. So more and more holes are being poked in this mans story, and he is having trouble filling them in. I just like that fact that two websites, The Smoking Gun and Defamer, are in the middle of a controversy about Marilyn Monroe, and their sites are an ironic post modern thrown back to the old time Hollywood we saw featured in movies like LA Confidential and Hollywoodland.

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