Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Esquire Magazine Humor Piece Gives Birth to Defamation Suit

Scanned image of Barack Obama's Birth Certific...Image via WikipediaThe U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi et al. v. Esquire Magazine, Inc. et al. (Case No. 1:11-cv-01179), a defamation case arising from a humor article by writer Mark Warren that targets the author of a book questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama.

As reported by Forbes Magazine, the plaintiffs' Complaint seeks more than $285 million in damages and includes counts alleging defamation, false light invasion of privacy, violation of the Lanham Act and interference with business relations. Farah, CEO, and Corsi, who wrote Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President, say they were damaged by Warren's parody that Esquire published May 18, 2011.

Headlined: BREAKING! Jerome Corsi's Birther Book Pulled from Shelves, Warren's piece appeared shortly after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, defusing all but the most devout followers of the so-called birther movement that maintained the president was not native-born and, thus, ineligible to serve as Commander in Chief. Subsequently, Esquire posted an update on its Website in which it stated, in part: "We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication."

Satire has proved a successful defense against defamation in the past, as The Rev. Jerry Falwell learned when he sued Hustler Magazine in the '80s. The plaintiffs, who have not been mollified by President Obama's birth certificate, however,  are nothing if not persistent, so stay tuned.
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