Friday, November 10, 2006

Comedian Loses In Suit Against Jews For Jesus

On Wednesday in Mason v. Jews for Jesus, Case No. 06 Civ. 6433 (RMB) (SDNY Nov. 8, 2006) [available on PACER- subscription needed], a New York federal district judge denied a preliminary injunction to comedian Jackie Mason who claims that Jews for Jesus misappropriated his image for advertising and trade purposes on a pamphlet it distributed seeking to convince Jews to accept Jesus as their savior. The suit was brought under New York's Civil Rights Act, Sec. 50-51 that protects the right to privacy. The court held that a reasonable reader of the pamphlet would not have thought that Mason endorses the views of Jews for Jesus. It held that newsworthy events or matters of public interest are not covered by the privacy statute, and that the distribution of the pamphlets was constitutionally protected speech. Yesterday WNBC reported on the decision.