A New Jersey judge recently handed down the long-awaited decision in the defamation case filed by “hot chicks” pictured in the book entitled Hot Chicks with Douchebags, who had apparently taken offense to having their pictures published in the book without their permission. According to their complaint, the three girls had their pictures taken by a company named CLUBITUP while they were out at a club. These pictures were then posted to a website sharing the same name as the book. The creator of the website and author of the book, Jay Louis, then chose various photos of the three girls to include in his book.

The girls told a New Jersey news source that they were simply being friendly to a man that would not leave them alone– the “douchebag” — when a representative of CLUBITUP asked to take their photo. Little did they know that the photo would later end up in a book published by Simon and Schuster. While each girl appeared in only one photo in the book (two appeared with a man labeled as a “Federbag,” ostensibly referring to the type of douchebag exemplified by Britney Spears’ ex-husband, and the other appeared on a page outlining Step 5 of the “de-douchification” process: Leave New Jersey) and none were identified by name, they all claimed to have nonetheless been recognized and harassed. At least one of the girls claimed that the picture unfairly portrayed her as a “party girl.”

The judge ruled that the pictures were not defamatory because “[t]he photographs in which the plaintiffs appear and the accompanying text are used for humorous social commentary.” The judge used several examples from the book to illustrate that the book was obviously meant to be satirical, including pondering whether a reasonable person could believe that “Jean-Paul Sartre stated ‘man is condemned to be douchey because once thrown into the world he is responsible for every douchey thing that he does.’” Jay Louis, who said that he originally created the website “due to [his] frustrations living in L.A. and seeing utterly gorgeous women dating the most ridiculous douchebags on Earth,” said that he was glad the judge recognized the “broad cultural critique” underneath his humor. One of the douchebags pictured in the book has, not surprisingly, also sued, claiming among other things that the publication unfairly depicts him as both a “‘douchebag’ and a dubious man.”

While on the one hand it does not seem right to allow the “hot chicks’” photos to be published in a book with such a “dubious title,” on the other hand the judge correctly highlighted that the book was clearly intended to be satirical. However, while the reasonable person may not believe that Jean-Paul Sartre waxed philosophical on the complexities of douchiness, a reasonable person might believe, mistakenly or not, that the girls pictured are “party girls.” Furthermore, while some may take the label of “hot chick” as a compliment, others may find it offensive. The lesson here seems to be to take care when allowing your picture to be taken, because you never know when you might see it on someone’s coffee table as part of a “humorous social commentary.”

– Jamie Lynn Kern

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One Response to Hot Girls, Lawsuits, Defamation, and Douchebags

  1. hb says:

    Oh the pride the parents of the girls, the d-bags, and the author must have in their children.

    “…Gee, son, what do you want to do with yourself when you grow up?”

    “…Dad, I want to be a writer and discuss the problems that beautiful, brain-dead chicks have with douchebags, and I don’t mean feminine hygiene…”

    “…That’s wonderful, son. I hear Columbia’s School of Journalism specializes in those kinds of programs. Maybe you should apply there…”

    Oh brother.