$350,000 penis

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William Birnbauer

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Feb 19, 1993, 1:53:44 AM2/19/93
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Re: the defamation case by the NSW Rugby league player, Andrew Ettingshausen who sued for defamation after a magazine published a picture of him naked in the shower with some team mates.
On Wednesday (Aust time) a NSW Supreme court jury awarded him $350,000 in damages. Ettinghausen, according to The Age, had claimed that the photo was offensive, pornographic and deeply hurtful. It had caused him sleepless nights and personal pain.

Needless to say the award prompted a lot of comment. Here's a summary:

*The NSW Law Society compared the payout with other claims experiences. Had he lost his genitals in a work accident, he would have been paid $45,000. If he were a woman and had been raped, he could expect a maximum of $20,000.
*The editor of the magazine (HQ) told the court that the shape alleged by Mr Ettingshausen to be his penis could have been a shadow.
* Anne Deveson, who chairs a federal government working party on the portrayal of women in the media, said while women's bodies were routinely exposed in the media, there seemed to be a massive reaction if it happens to be a man. "It seems to be an extraordinarily expensive penis the young man has," she said. Deveson pointed out that when the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was photographed topless, the public outcry was directed at her, not the media.
* A feminist Melbourne barrister, Jocelyn Scutt said there was enormous concern among men about exposure of their penises because they found it so disempowering. She went on: "Here is this most minute indication of the most minute organ and all hell breaks loose and people are yelling pornography. When we say it's pornography that a woman is on the front of a magazine in a dog collar with her breasts showing we're told we should have a sense of humor.''

Other points (sorry) in the article are that Ettingshausen does modelling,and is a schools and junior development officer with the NSW rugby league. Australian Consolidated Press, which owns HQ, will appeal.


--


BILL BIRNBAUER | reb...@leland.stanford.edu
Stanford Aussie |

Rob McMillan

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Feb 21, 1993, 11:27:10 PM2/21/93
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In article <1993Feb19.0...@leland.Stanford.EDU>,
reb...@leland.Stanford.EDU (William Birnbauer) writes:
>
> *The NSW Law Society compared the payout with other claims experiences. Had
> he lost his genitals in a work accident, he would have been paid $45,000.
> If he were a woman and had been raped, he could expect a maximum of
> $20,000.

Given that his prime employment is playing football, one wonders at what
exactly the circumstances for a lost penis at work would be!

> *Anne Deveson, who chairs a federal government working party on the

> portrayal of women in the media, said while women's bodies were routinely
> exposed in the media, there seemed to be a massive reaction if it happens
> to be a man. "It seems to be an extraordinarily expensive penis the young
> man has," she said. Deveson pointed out that when the Duchess of York,
> Sarah Ferguson, was photographed topless, the public outcry was directed
> at her, not the media.

Hmm, I don't think ET is too worried about his chest being exposed. Certainly
Sarah Ferguson's genitals weren't ever splashed in Woman's Day or whatever the
publication was.

Also, one suspects that whilst Ettingshausen was upset about the intrusion in
the privacy, Ferguson was upset that she was publically caught cheating on her
husband when she held a position of privilege. There is a difference in the two
cases, which seems to have been neglected.

> *A feminist Melbourne barrister, Jocelyn Scutt said there was enormous

> concern among men about exposure of their penises because they found it
> so disempowering. She went on: "Here is this most minute indication of
> the most minute organ and all hell breaks loose and people are yelling
> pornography. When we say it's pornography that a woman is on the front
> of a magazine in a dog collar with her breasts showing we're told we
> should have a sense of humor.''

I don't believe anyone with any kind of respect for their neighbour (or
themselves) would find that kind of degradation amusing.

I think the basis of the case was not so much pornography, but Ettingshausen's
disgust at having the photo published without giving permission (or being
advised) when he has strived to present himself as well as he has over the
years. Jocelyn Scutt seems to have missed the point.

--
Rob.

George Michaelson

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Feb 22, 1993, 1:15:17 AM2/22/93
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Read the Judges commentary: The scale of the Award is a function of the
publishers and defence councils approach to the issue. Various naughty
things were said or done which implied Ettingswhatsit was a [mumble fumble
bimble.] The Judge wanted to ensure ACP didn't try that kind of slime again.

This is what I was told anyway... Plonkers just dont rate big money in the
courts.

-George
--
George Michaelson
G.Mich...@cc.uq.oz.au The Prentice Centre | There's no market for
University of Queensland | hippos in Philadelphia
Phone: +61 7 365 4079 QLD Australia 4072 | -Bertold Brecht

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