Respondent, a nationally known minister and commentator on politics and public affairs, filed a diversity action in Federal District Court against petitioners, a nationally circulated magazine and its publisher, to recover damages for, inter alia, libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the publication of an advertisement "parody" which, among other things, portrayed respondent as having engaged in a drunken incestuous rendezvous with his mother in an outhouse. The jury found against respondent on the libel claim, specifically finding that the parody could not "reasonably be understood as describing actual facts. The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting petitioners' contention that the "actual malice" standard of New York Times Co. Sullivan, U.
Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell
Global Freedom of Expression | Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell - Global Freedom of Expression
For a better experience, click the icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites. Traditionally, states have provided a way for a person who has been intentionally emotionally harmed by another to recover damages from the person who caused that harm. That traditional rule hit a First Amendment limit when nationally known preacher Jerry Falwell sued Hustler Magazine over a cartoon published in the magazine. Falwell sued Hustler Magazine saying that the publication was so outrageous as to have intentionally caused him emotional distress, which he argued entitled him to damages from Hustler Magazine to compensate him. Falwell convinced a jury but lost at the US Supreme Court.
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell - 485 U.S. 46, 108 S. Ct. 876 (1988)
Hustler Magazine, Inc. Falwell , U. In an 8—0 decision, the Court ruled in favor of Hustler magazine, holding that a parody ad published in the magazine depicting televangelist and political commentator Jerry Falwell Sr. Therefore, the Court held that the emotional distress inflicted on Falwell by the ad was not a sufficient reason to deny the First Amendment protection to speech that is critical of public officials and public figures.
Try it out for free. Public figures and public officials may not recover for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress by reason of publications without showing in addition that the publication contains a false statement of fact which was made with "actual malice," i. A magazine of nationwide circulation, parodying a series of liquor advertisements in which celebrities speak about their "first time," published an advertisement parody--labeled on the bottom, in small print, as an "ad parody not to be taken seriously"--in which a nationally known minister and commentator on politics and public affairs was presented as recalling, in a supposed interview, that his "first time" was during a drunken incestuous rendezvous with his mother in an outhouse. The minister, claiming that the publication of the ad parody entitled him to damages for libel, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, brought a diversity action against the magazine and its publisher in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.